Vietnam PNTR Status and WTO Accession: Issues and Implications for the United States [August 2, 2006] [open pdf - 126KB]
"On May 31, 2006, U.S. and Vietnamese negotiators signed a bilateral agreement on the conditions for Vietnam's accession (entry) into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The agreement is just one in a number of steps that Vietnam must take to complete its 11-year quest to join the multilateral trade body. However, the agreement with the United States was the 'last' and, seemingly, the most difficult of the bilateral agreements that Vietnam had to negotiate with twenty-eight WTO members (including the European Union (EU) counting as one but representing twenty-five countries). Thus, the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral agreement on WTO accession signifies that Vietnam's accession process is drawing to a close. […] Accession to the WTO would afford Vietnam the protection of the multilateral system of rules in its trade relations with other WTO members, including the United States. It would help the United States in that Vietnam would be obligated to apply WTO rules in its trade. PNTR status from the United States would provide Vietnam more predictability its growing trade relations with the United States and would shed a legacy of the cold war. For the United States, PNTR [permanent normal trade relations] would be another in a series of steps the United States has taken in trade and foreign policy to normalize relations with Vietnam and place distance between current relations and the Vietnam War. During the congressional debate on PNTR Members might raise issues regarding the conditions for Vietnam's entry into the WTO and other issues pertaining to the U.S.-Vietnam economic relationship and other aspects of the overall U.S.-Vietnam relationship. Legislation (S. 3495 and H.R. 5602) regarding PNTR status for Vietnam has been introduced in the 109th Congress. The Congress has several options on how to act on this issue."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33490