U.S., Vietnam Reach Market-Access Agreement, Paving Way for WTO Accession
The United States and Vietnam recently reached a bilateral market-access agreement that will lower trade barriers on a variety of products, including dairy, and help pave the way for Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). As part of the agreement, Vietnam plans to reduce import tariffs for whey and cheese to 10%, down from current levels of 20% for cheese and 20% to 30% for whey.
"This agreement will help open dairy markets in Vietnam, which is a positive development for our members," said Clay Hough, IDFA's senior vice president and general counsel. "Cheese and whey are two principal U.S. exports, and we see tremendous growth opportunities for these products in Asia, as well as with lactose."
Vietnam has become a major food production center in southeastern Asia. The country was the eighth-largest market for U.S. dairy exports last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2004, total sales reached more than $50 million, up 73% from the previous year.
The formal agreement, expected to be signed in June, still must be ratified by Congress to grant permanent most-favored nation status to Vietnam. This step will clear the way for the two countries to apply the agreement when Vietnam becomes a WTO member.
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Posted May 22, 2006