Cablegate: Dpm Khoan Still Hopes for December Accession

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) HANOI 1888 B) HANOI 1863 C) STATE 133130

1. (U) Summary: On July 27, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan
spoke at an AmCham lunch attended by the Ambassador and over
100 members of Hanoi's diplomatic, business and press
communities. After lauding the great progress in U.S.-
Vietnam relations as a result of the Prime Minister's trip
to the United States, and cooperation with the Embassy and
AmCham, the DPM emphasized Vietnam's goal to accede to the
WTO by the end of the year. He answered questions about
difficulties of doing business in Vietnam. End Summary.

2. (U) Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan addressed over 100
members of the diplomatic, business and press communities at
an American Chamber of Commerce lunch on July 27 in Hanoi.
The Ambassador also attended. Accompanying the DPM were
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Americas
Nguyen Duc Hung, Vice Minister of Trade Luong Van Tu and
Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Bich Dat.

3. (U) The Deputy Prime Minister began by stating that in
his personal view, Prime Minister Khai's recent trip to the
U.S. led to several important results. The visit led to a
high level consensus on bilateral U.S.-Vietnam relations and
provided an opportunity to introduce Vietnam to U.S.
business, media and NGOs. The visit also allowed
substantial progress in negotiations with USTR on the WTO
accession, which the joint statement between President Bush
and Prime Minister Khai underscored. The DPM thanked the
AmCham and U.S. business for supporting the trip and the
bilateral relationship.

4. (U) Regarding next steps, Khoan stressed the need to
maintain momentum in the process for Vietnam's WTO
accession. He reiterated that the Hong Kong Ministerial
remains the "best chance" for Vietnam to join the WTO, and
pointed out that the benefits of accession would be shared
by world business, including U.S. business. He said he
would continue to work with Ambassador Marine to implement
all areas of agreement between the President and Prime
Minister, including WTO negotiations.

5. (U) During the question and answer period, a U.S.
agricultural exporter working in the provinces said that
increased red tape at the provincial level, as well as an
apparent disregard for central government laws (especially
taxes and customs) among local officials was causing him
difficulties. DPM Khoan responded that local officials must
be accountable to the people, and that the role of elected
bodies and the press must be strengthened. He added that
addressing this problem is a government priority. The DPM
said that the regulation limiting the number of foreign
employees in a Vietnamese company to three percent needs to
"be revisited."

6. (SBU) Comment: Despite the Ambassador's discussion with
the DPM earlier this week regarding likely WTO accession
date in 2006, DPM Khoan did not abandon the Government's
long-held December accession target, at least not publicly.
At the same time, Khoan continues to be very laudatory of
our cooperation across a broad spectrum of issues and upbeat
regarding future prospects.


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