With Booming Economy, Vietnam May Become Newest Member of WTO

May 28, 2006



Nguoi Viet, May 15, 2006

HANOI – Vietnam's state-run media announced on May 13 that the government has completed negotiations with the United States for its World Trade Organization (WTO) entry, paving the way for Vietnam to become a full member, reports Nguoi Viet. Vietnam will submit its final request for WTO membership before the end of the year, after the U.S. Congress votes on whether to give the country permanent normal trade relations status. Vietnam hopes that it will join the WTO before November, when Bush plans to visit Hanoi for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. With abundant natural resources, especially in petroleum, and a gross domestic product (GDP) of 7.6 to 8 percent (compared to Thailand’s 4 to 4.5 percent), Vietnam will post the highest growth rate in Southeast Asia this year. The Kosikorn Center predicts that Vietnam will surpass Thailand in exports in the next 14 years, exporting a total of about $500 billion by 2020, compared to Thailand’s predicted $463 billion. Foreign investors, discouraged by political disorder in Thailand, are increasingly looking to Vietnam, reports Nguoi Viet. Free from the impact of the tsunami, Vietnam’s tourism has also steadily grown in the past two years. In 2005, the number of tourists to the country rose to 3.5 million, an increase of 18.4 percent from 2004.


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