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Comparison of Obligations in U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement with WTO Accession Requirements. Demetrios J. Marantis Chief Legal Advisor, U.S.-Vietnam Trade Council demetrios.marantis@usvtc.org www.usvtc.org Seminar on Vietnam’s Accession to the WTO Hanoi Hilton Opera 6 August 2003.

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comparison of obligations in u s vietnam bilateral trade agreement with wto accession requirements

Comparison of Obligations in U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement with WTO Accession Requirements

Demetrios J. Marantis

Chief Legal Advisor, U.S.-Vietnam Trade Council

demetrios.marantis@usvtc.org

www.usvtc.org

Seminar on Vietnam’s Accession to the WTO

Hanoi Hilton Opera

6 August 2003

overview from the bta to the wto3
Overview: From the BTA to the WTO

BTA: Bilateral MFN Agreement/Lays Foundation for WTO

  • Types of Trade Agreements
    • Pre-WTO: MFN Trade Agreement (e.g., BTA)
    • WTO: WTO Accession
    • Post WTO: WTO Plus FTAs (e.g., U.S.-Singapore FTA)
  • Historical Context
    • Necessary for U.S. to apply MFN tariffs to Vietnam
    • Other countries have also gone through MFN agreements with U.S. (e.g., Russia, Cambodia)
  • Big Step to WTO
    • BTA based on WTO principles
    • Through BTA, Vietnam has already committed to do many of the things that will be required of it for WTO accession.
overview from the bta to the wto4
Overview: From the BTA to the WTO

Some BTA obligations incorporate WTO Agreements in full.

  • Ch. I, Art. 3(4): incorporates WTO Customs Valuation Agmt.
  • Ch. IV, Art. 11: incorporates substantive provisions of WTO TRIMs Agmt
  • Chapter VI, Art. 8: incorporates WTO Import Licensing Agreement

WTO Accession will require Vietnam to apply such agreements

to all WTO Members.

Some BTA obligations incorporate partial WTO obligations.

  • Chapter I: incorporates fundamental principles of SPS, TBT, and others
  • Chapter II: incorporates most of TRIPS Agreement
  • Chapter III: incorporates most of GATS
  • Chapter VI: based on WTO transparency principles

WTO Accession will require Vietnam to assume full agreements,

where relevant (i.e.., SPS, TBT, TRIPS, GATS), and apply to all

Members.

overview from the bta to the wto5
Overview: From the BTA to the WTO

Some BTA commitments will form basis of negotiations with Members.

  • Ch. I, Annex E: tariff commitments
  • Ch. III, Annex G: services commitments

WTO Members will expect Vietnam to “multlateralize” these commitments

pursuant to WTO MFN obligations.

Some BTA obligations have no WTO equivalents.

  • Ch. II: certain provisions provide more than the TRIPs
  • Ch. IV: investment provisions (other than TRIMs)
  • Ch. V: business facilitation
  • Ch. VI: certain transparency provisions provide more than WTO

Most (but not all) of these provisions will not play role in WTO accession negotiations.

overview from the bta to the wto key questions for wto accession
Overview: From the BTA to the WTOKey Questions for WTO Accession
  • Where is WTO Accession “BTA Plus”?
  • Which BTA Commitments Do WTO Provisions Require Vietnam to “Multilateralize”?
  • What Benefits Does the WTO Provide that the BTA Does Not?
  • How Does BTA Implementation Facilitate WTO Accession by 2005?
conclusion the bta and post 2005
Conclusion: The BTA and Post-2005

BTA reflects WTO Agreements as the are today.

  • Today: So many BTA obligations stem from/similar to WTO Accession requirements.
  • Tomorrow: WTO in process of evolution.
    • Accessions get harder each time. Easier to accede in 1995 than now.
    • Doha obligations could add new accession requirements.
    • Countries negotiating post-2005 could face harder time.

BTA sets stage for 2005 Accession.

  • WTO accession requirements are what they are.
  • BTA, which incorporates and phases-in many of these requirements, helps accomplish 2005 goal.