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Tuesday, June 21, 2005



President Bush told Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai on Tuesday that he supported Vietnam's bid to join the World Trade Organization, and urged more reforms on human rights and religious freedoms. The meeting marked 10 years since diplomatic ties resumed between the two former foes and it was the first visit by a Vietnamese prime minister since the war ended 30 years ago. Bush said he would visit Vietnam in 2006 when it hosts the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. 'We talked about our desire for Vietnam to join the WTO,' Bush told reporters in an Oval Office picture-taking session after their talks. Vietnam has set a goal of joining the WTO at the trade organization's next ministerial meeting in December in Hong Kong. The U.S. Congress would have to vote on any deal to allow Vietnam to join the WTO, as it did with China in 2000. Khai said his visit 'shows that Vietnam-U.S. relations have in fact entered a new stage of development.'
This is great news for me, as I am a big believer in free trade. It is time to fully welcome Vietnam into the WTO.


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