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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Robert L. Mallett, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce
Travel to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Press Release, U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, DC, August 21, 2000

Highest-Ranking Commerce Official to Ever Make Official Visit to Vietnam Washington, D.C. -Following last month's historic signing of the bilateral trade agreement (BTA) between the United States and Vietnam, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Robert L. Mallett will travel to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City August 22-24 as the highest-ranking commerce official ever to visit Vietnam.

While in Vietnam, Deputy Secretary Mallett will meet with Vietnamese government officials and representatives of the Vietnamese and American business community. The purpose of the Deputy Secretary's visit will center on developing ways the United States and Vietnam can turn the potential of increased trade and commercial ties into reality.

"This bilateral trade agreement will give U.S. companies access to Vietnam's emerging market place of nearly 80 million consumers and will open the way for normal trade relations between the U.S. and Vietnam for the first time ever and since the Vietnam War," said Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

"When it comes into effect, this historic trade agreement would provide Vietnam with access to the world's largest market on the same terms the United States grants to most other nations," said Deputy Secretary Mallett.

While in Vietnam, Deputy Secretary Mallett will participate in several key events to promote the development of Vietnam's commercial infrastructure, to promote economic reforms and good governance as an important component towards improving the business climate in Vietnam, and to form the first phase of a long-term strategy of increasing trade and investment between the United States and Vietnam.

In Hanoi, Deputy Secretary Mallett will meet with high-level Vietnamese officials, including Minister of Trade Vu Khoan and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The Deputy Secretary will also visit the newly formed trading floor of the Securities Trading Center in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Deputy Secretary's arrival in Vietnam will symbolize the commitment by the Clinton Administration to a strong partnership of trade and investment with Vietnam and an historic reconciliation between the two countries.

Deputy Secretary Mallett's visit to Vietnam is part of a three-country visit that includes Hong Kong and Thailand. He will begin his trip in Hong Kong August 21-22. While in Hong Kong, he will meet with high-level Government officials -- including Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa and Acting Secretary of Commerce and Industry Yvonne Choi -- and representatives of the Hong Kong and American business communities to encourage an expansion of commercial ties with Hong Kong, one of the United States' longest-standing trading partners in the region.

While in Hong Kong, Deputy Secretary Mallett will specifically address the upcoming vote in the U.S. Senate on granting China permanent trade relations, China's accession to the World Trade Organization, and U.S.-Hong Kong trade matters.

Deputy Secretary Mallett will conclude his trip in Thailand on August 25-26. While in Bangkok, he will meet with Royal Thai Government officials and representatives of the Thai and American business communities to encourage an expansion of commercial ties with Thailand, a long-standing key trading partner of the United States.

The United States' formal commercial relationship with Asia began nearly 170 years ago with the conclusion of a treaty between the United States and Thailand. Thailand is now the largest economy in ASEAN. Bilateral trade between the U.S. and Thailand reached over $19 billion last year. The U.S. is now Thailand's largest market, the destination of over 22% of Thai exports, a factor that is supporting economic recovery in Thailand and, in turn, contributing to Thai imports from the United States.

More information on the Deputy Secretary trip will be posted to www.doc.gov.

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