Cablegate: Apec Official Michalak's Meeting at the Ministry Of

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

1. (SBU) Summary: During a meeting between Deputy Director
General at Multilateral Trade Policy Department of the
Ministry of Trade (MOT) Tran Thi Thu Hang and U.S. Senior
Official for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Michael Michalak, the two frankly discussed upcoming
opportunities for expanding the U.S.-Vietnam relationship,
dates for APEC 2006, the status of agenda items for APEC
2005 and potential items for 2006 and Vietnam's plans to
participate in multilateral avian influenza initiatives.
End Summary.


2. (SBU) Hang began the meeting by noting that before any
discussion of APEC issues, she wanted to discuss World Trade
Organization (WTO) accession. She said it was very
important that Vietnam conclude negotiations as soon as
possible, noting how awkward it would be for Vietnam to
chair an APEC caucus on WTO without being a WTO member.
Michalak assured her that Vietnam's accession was a U.S.
priority and the United States would do its best in this
regard. He added that Vietnam also needs to focus on the
Permanent Normalized Trade Relations (PNTR) vote that will
take place in the U.S. Congress after negotiations conclude.
The Government of Vietnam (GVN) should be building up solid
commercial relationships and communicating with their
business community. If the PNTR process does not start by
June or July 2006, there could be major problems in securing
that vote in time for the 2006 Leaders' Meeting. Michalak
concluded by adding that between APEC, WTO, and President
Bush's visit to Hanoi, the world's eyes will be especially
focused on Vietnam in 2006. He hoped that Vietnam and the
United States could use this opportunity to establish a
strong framework for the future of the bilateral


3. (SBU) Hang began the APEC discussion by stating firmly
that the GVN is very committed to continuing the momentum of
APEC 2005 and implementing the Bogor roadmap as well as the
Busan agenda. The GVN is also interested in hearing the
views and agenda priorities from all member countries,
though Hang noted the GVN will certainly look at U.S.
suggestions very favorably. The GVN has received a list of
U.S. APEC priorities in previous meetings and, she added, is
giving them strong consideration while developing the 2006
agenda. Michalak agreed that advancing the Busan agenda,
especially the Secure Trade in APEC Region (STAR) program
and the Bogor roadmap's Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
guidelines was critical. When questioned about whether or
not Vietnam had submitted its comments on the IPR
guidelines, Hang admitted Vietnam generally supported them,
but did not have a formal reply yet because the other
ministries needed time to review the proposal. She said she
would try her best to provide feedback by October 14. She
added that the GVN would welcome any suggestions for the
STAR agenda. Michalak agreed to pass those on as soon as
possible and suggested she look at the Singapore idea about
supply chains as a starting point. The STAR conference will
be in February 2006.


4. (SBU) Hang acknowledged that Vietnam is "in a hurry" to
work on APEC now. Michalak told her this was good news,
because there is much work to be done. He pressed Hang on
the importance of receiving information about the size of
delegations as well as specific dates and schedules. Hang
admitted delegation size was an issue on which the
Vietnamese are still working, but she did share the
tentative 2006 APEC schedule verbally, though the dates are
still awaiting the Prime Minister's approval.

Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) 1: February 20 - March 3
SOM 2: May 22 - June 1
Trade Ministers' Meeting: June 3 - June 4
SOM 3 and Financial Ministers' meeting: late September (she
did not give exact dates)
Leaders' Meeting: November 12-18
CEO Meeting: Nov 17-19

Hang said the Trade Ministers' Meeting would likely be held
in a "satellite city" of HCMC, though post is aware of no
locations large enough to hold the delegations that usually
attend this event. Hang did not answer when asked if the
GVN was building a new facility.


5. (SBU) Michalak thanked Hang for the dates and said he
looked forward to hearing more about delegation size and a
finalized schedule in the near future. Moving to the APEC
business agenda, he raised the importance of crafting an
agenda focused on trade and investment liberalization,
supportive of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), and
aggressive in promoting the application of APEC Best
Practices on Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) and Free Trade
Agreements (FTAs). He emphasized how critical transparency
and anti-corruption efforts are to the APEC agenda as well
as "Ease of Doing Business" programs like the APEC "Best
Practices for Regulatory Reform." Public-Private
Partnerships, he added, are equally valuable. In response
to Michalak's question on the subject, Hang said the GVN
does not yet have any details on how the 2006 Investment
seminar will be conducted.


6. (SBU) The GVN is similarly uncertain about whether or
not it will join the International Partnership to combat
avian influenza (AI). Michalak reviewed other multilateral
efforts in place to combat AI and emphasized how important
it is for Vietnam to be a part of this, especially
considering that most of the AI cases to date have occurred
in Vietnam. Hang replied that MOT does not have the lead on
AI issues.


7. (SBU) Michalak then pressed Hang for answers to a number
of outstanding issues. He also explained the status of
other issues still evolving. He asked that the Vietnamese
work to implement the Bangkok commitments on security as
well as sign on to the Radioactive Sources Initiative (RSI)
now that the language has been changed as Vietnam requested.
Hang said she had no feedback yet as to whether or not the
amended RSI was acceptable. Michalak also raised the
importance of highlighting energy issues at the 2005
Leaders' Meeting as well as in APEC 2006. He asked about
the potential of establishing an energy dialogue, something
which, Hang replied was under the auspices of the Ministry
of Industry (MOI). Michalak asked if Vietnam had made a
decision on the International Atomic Energy Association
(IAEA) additional protocol. Hang said that proposal is
still circulating with the MOI as well. Similarly, Michalak
noted that the United States had received no feedback on the
MANPADS briefer, which is due October 14. Hang said she had
never seen the briefer, and Michalak promised to forward it
as soon as possible. Michalak then asked if Vietnam
intended to include an auto dialogue in the 2006 agenda;
Hang replied that Vietnam was interested in hosting any
meeting the members wanted, but that they would need past
agendas, memos, and paperwork to put it together, all of
which Michalak promised to send to her. On the question of
including a Life Sciences Innovation Forum as part of SOM 3,
Hang said Vietnam had no information about this but would
welcome more from the United States. Vietnam does have the
proposed language for including "technology choice" in the
2005 Leaders' statement; Hang admitted it is still
circulating among the ministries for comment. Hang then
raised one final issue on IPR, noting that Vietnam had been
working with a quasi-government "Association for Consumer
Protection" which had submitted proposed IPR enforcement
projects to Brenda Fischer. She asked Michalak to look into
the status of their proposal. Michalak noted that there
would be many opportunities to develop IPR projects in 2006.

8. (SBU) Comment: Both Hang and her assistant took copious
notes throughout the meeting, asking questions on things
they did not understand and repeatedly expressing their
interest in including U.S. priorities in the 2006 agenda.
Hang implicitly acknowledged she realized how behind the GVN
is in its planning, but also emphasized how much the
consensus driven decision-making process that dominates all
GVN activity was still a factor in their planning, even
though MOT has the lead on APEC issues. End comment.

9. (U) Mr. Michalak has cleared this cable.


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