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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Opening Remarks to Business Roundtable
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, September 7, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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As Prepared For Delivery

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good afternoon; I'm pleased we could get together. This has been an eventful trip -- but what I'd really like to spend most of this valuable time with you on is listening, not talking.

Because as hard as the Administration has worked to open foreign markets and expand business opportunities for American companies, it's not that often I get a chance to hear directly from world-class business leaders about the special challenges you face in a particular country or region.

I do want to report very quickly on the status of the bilateral trade agreement, based on my meetings yesterday with Vietnam's leaders. We can get into greater nuance later, but bottom line, I am cautiously optimistic that we may -- underscore "may" -- get an agreement in the reasonably near term.

The business community has done a great deal to help bring us this far in the last four years. And with a crowded Congressional calendar, your support will be absolutely crucial in getting the agreement ratified promptly -- in the event we all should have that opportunity.

You know better than I do what normal trade relations with Vietnam could mean for U.S. business. That's just one reason I want to open the floor to you now, for your comments or questions.

[End of Document]

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