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WTO formally invites Vietnam

November 08, 2006|From the Associated Press

GENEVA — The World Trade Organization on Tuesday formally invited Vietnam to become the commerce body's 150th member, paving the way for the country to join within 30 days of its National Assembly ratifying the accord.

The organization's general council approved accession terms for Vietnam with the fall of a gavel from WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, completing 11 years of entry talks with the Geneva-based group.

"I see Vietnam as one of the rising stars of world trade," Lamy said, urging it to continue on its path of domestic reform.

Membership in the global trade body will give Vietnam increased access to foreign markets and the opportunity to take trade grievances to a neutral arbiter, strengthening its hand against nations that accuse it of illegally dumping goods on their markets. In return, Vietnam will be required to drop its high tariffs on foreign imports and eliminate subsidies for state-owned companies.

Pham Gia Khiem, Vietnam's deputy prime minister, said the country would "fully implement" its commitments under WTO rules and continue to develop toward what he termed a "socialism-oriented market economy."

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