July 26, 2001
Administration strongly opposes H.J.Res. 55, which would disapprove
the extension of a waiver of the Jackson-Vanik freedom of emigration
requirements with respect to Vietnam. On June 1, President Bush determined
that continuation of the Jackson-Vanik waiver would substantially
promote greater freedom of emigration in Vietnam. This determination
was based on Vietnam's improved performance over the past year on
emigration and on its continued and increased cooperation on U.S.
refugee programs. The Administration urges the Congress to defeat
H.J.Res. 55 for the reasons explained below.
The Administration's intends to continue to work with Vietnam to normalize incrementally our bilateral political, economic, and consular relationship. U.S. engagement helps promote the development of a prosperous Vietnam and integrates it into world markets and regional organizations, which, in turn, helps contribute to regional stability. In addition, U.S. involvement has secured Vietnamese cooperation and engagement on a range of important U.S. policy goals, including achieving the fullest possible accounting of POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War. We believe that U.S. engagement gives hope of producing gains in respect for human rights as well.
The U.S. has extended a Jackson-Vanik waiver to Vietnam for the past 3 years. This has permitted U.S. businesses operating in Vietnam to make use of U.S. Government programs supporting U.S. exports to and investments in Vietnam. U.S. business views Vietnam, the thirteenth most populous country in the world, as an important potential market. The Jackson-Vanik waiver is also a prerequisite for Normal Trade Relations (NTR) trade status. Before Vietnam can receive NTR, Congress must approve the bilateral trade agreement (BTA) that President Bush transmitted to Congress on June 8, 2001.