July 25, 2000
H.J.Res. 99 - Disapproving the Extension of Jackson-Vanik Waiver Authority for Vietnam
The Administration strongly opposes H.J.Res. 99, which would disapprove the
extension of a waiver of the Jackson-Vanik freedom of emigration
requirements with respect to Vietnam. On June 2nd, President Clinton
determined that continuation of the Jackson-Vanik waiver would
substantially promote greater freedom of emigration in Vietnam in the
future. 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. 99 for the reasons explained below.
(Rohrabacher (R) California)
The Administration's policy since the establishment of diplomatic relations
in 1995 has been 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 integrated 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. It is in the national interest for this progress to continue.
While the Administration remains concerned about Vietnam's human rights
practices and continues to urge improved respect for human rights, worker
rights, and the rule of law, our engagement, along with that of others, has
produced some improvements. These include increased openness, modest
relaxation of restrictions on personal liberty and religious worship,
greater toleration of public criticism, and release of a number of
prisoners of conscience.
The U.S. has extended a Jackson-Vanik waiver to Vietnam for each of the
past 2 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 twelfth 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, but would not yet confer NTR on Vietnam. Before
Vietnam can receive NTR, Congress must approve a bilateral trade agreement
(BTA). The United States and Vietnam signed such an agreement on July
13th, after four years of negotiation. In light of the extremely crowded
Congressional Calendar and limited number of legislative days remaining in
the 106th Congress, it does not appear practical for the Administration to
transmit the BTA to Congress this session. Only at such time in the future
as the Congress approves the BTA will Vietnam receive NTR trade status,
which would continue to require annual congressional review.
Since March 1998 when the Jackson-Vanik waiver was first granted, it has
been an essential component of the Administration's policy of engagement
and has directly furthered progress with Vietnam on a number of U.S. policy
goals. The extension of the waiver this year will continue to advance U.S.
national interests in Vietnam.