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    Vietnam and the U.S. established diplomatic relations on July 12, 1995, exchanged their first Ambassador in July 1997, and opened the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam Consulate General in San Francisco in November 1997.

    Political Relations: The bilateral relations have increasingly been strengthened in various areas. The two sides have exchanged many high-ranking visits. On the Vietnamese side, there were visits by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam (1998, 2000), Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (2001), Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan (2003), Prime Minister Phan Van Khai (June, 2005), Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiem (March, 2007) and many other  visits at ministerial level. On the U.S. side, many high-ranking visits have been also made, namely the visit by Secretary of State W. Christopher (1995); National Security Advisor A. Lake (1996); Secretary of State M. Albright (1997), Former President G. Bush (1995), Secretary of Defense W. Cohen (2000), President W. Clinton (November, 2000 and December 2006), Secretary of State C. Powell (2001), House’s Speaker D. Hastert (April, 2006), Secretary of State C. Rice and President Bush (November, 2006)…

    Particularly, during the official visit to the U.S. by Prime Minister Phan Van Khai in June, 2005, the two sides issued a Joint Statement which highlights their intention to develop a friendly, constructive, and multi-faceted cooperative, durable and stable partnership. President G.W. Bush reiterated the US government's support for Viet Nam's security and territorial integrity.

    During U.S. President Bush’s visit to Vietnam (November, 2006), a Joint Statement was publicized, reaffirming the aforesaid commitment and opened new cooperation opportunities between the two countries in different areas.

    The most recent official visit is paid by Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet at the invitation of U.S. President G. W. Bush (from 18-23 June, 2007). During this visit, the two sides agreed to further deepen and broaden their multi-faceted relations on a stable and effective basis. The two sides signed the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and many other important economic agreements.

    Economic and trade relations: The two countries have reached a number of economic agreements such as Agreement  on the Establishment of Copyright Relations (signed on June 27, 1997); Bilateral Trade Agreement (signed on July 13, 2000 and came into effect on December 10, 2001);  Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (came in to effect on March 26, 2001); Textile Agreement (came into effect on May 1, 2003), Aviation Agreement (came into effect on January 14, 2004); the Framework Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation (came into effect on July 28, 2005);  Memorandum of Agreement on Cooperation in Agriculture and Related Fields (6/2005)….

    Especially, on May 31, 2006 a bilateral market access Agreement was formally signed by the U.S. and Vietnam, required as part of Vietnam’s bid to accede to the WTO. On September 12, 2006, the U.S. Congress approved the bill to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Vietnam and on December 29, 2006 President Bush signed the bill into law. On June 21, 2007, during President Nguyen Minh Triet’s official visit to the U.S., the two sides signed the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

    Since the BTA became effective, trade ties between the two countries have been improved: the two - way trade volume reached US$ 7.8 billion in 2005, a five-fold increase against 2001's US$ 1.5 billion; US-Vietnam trade volume reached US$ 9.7 billion in 2006, of which Vietnam imported US$ 1.1 billion and exported US$ 8.6 billion (Vietnam always has trade surplus with the US). The US is the biggest export market for Vietnam. By September 2007, FDI from the US to Vietnam has reached US$ 2.6 billion, and it ranked 7th among countries and territories investing in Vietnam (the figure reached US$ 5.1 billion if trade via a third country is included). More than 1,000 US companies are now doing business in Vietnam. While economic and trade relations between the two countries are expanding, some trade disputes concerning catfish, shrimp and textile issues have also emerged.

    Cooperation in science and technology, culture, education and training, healthcare and labor: The two countries have signed a number of ministerial MOUs, namely Joint Communiqué on Healthcare Cooperation between two Ministries of Health (December, 1997), Agreement on Sports and Physical Training Cooperation (March 1999), MOU on Labor Cooperation (November, 2000), MOU on Hydro-Meteorological Cooperation (January, 2001), and MOU on Human Resource Training in Agriculture (March, 2003). In 2003, Vietnam and the U.S. signed a Statement on Principles of Cooperation for the Implementation of Vietnam Education Fund (VEF) program, which has granted a number of scholarships for Vietnamese students to study science and technology in the U.S. On June 23rd, 2004, President G. Bush announced the inclusion of Vietnam in the list of 15 partner-countries in the Emergency Plan for AIDS-HIV Relief. The U.S. has also actively worked with Vietnam as well as provided financial assistance in the combat against the bird flu epidemic.

    The two sides also maintain dialogue on labor, human right and religious issues.

    Cooperation on humanitarian issues left by the war: Following humanitarian traditions and policy, Vietnam has closely cooperated with the US in dealing with the MIA issue. The two countries have been carrying out 89 Joint Field Activities. Vietnam has handed over to the US more than 800 sets of remains. The U.S. side has also gradually cooperated with Vietnam to solve consequences of the war, for instance, providing information relating to the search of Vietnamese missing in action, co-organizing several conferences on the research of the effect of Agent Orange, and undertaking several programs such as landmine clearing, tree planting and victims’ assistance.

    Solving the consequences of the Agent Orange has also seen initial progress. On May 25, 2007, the US Congress approved an appropriation of 3 million USD for environment protection and healthcare in Vietnam.

    Vietnamese Agent orange victims have been suing several US chemical companies for producing toxic chemicals during the war.

    Security and military relations: The two sides have nominated Military Attachés and exchanged a number of delegations, including the Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial levels, in order to increase mutual understanding. U.S. Secretary of Defense W. Cohen paid a visit to Vietnam in March 2000 and Minister of Defense Pham Van Tra paid a visit to the U.S. in November 2003 in return. In June 2006, U.S. Secretary of Defense D. Rumsfeld visited Vietnam. Since 2003, U.S. naval ships have visited Vietnam's ports annually under bilateral military cooperation framework. On 29 December 2006, together with the announcement of granting PNTR for Vietnam, U.S. President G. Bush lifted the embargo on selling some non-lethal military items to Vietnam.

    Vietnam has been working with the U.S. in anti-terrorism cooperation and other forms of law-enforcement cooperation. Vietnam also requests the U.S. Government to prevent organizations and individuals from and punish them for their terrorist activities against Vietnam.


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