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 November 06, 2000
U.S. Business Delegation To Vietnam

 A delegation from leading U.S. companies will travel to Vietnam November 16-21 in conjunction with President Clinton's historic visit to that country. The mission - organized by the US-Vietnam Trade Council and the US-ASEAN Business Council - will explore trade and investment opportunities that are likely to open as a result of the bilateral trade agreement signed by the two countries in July. The agreement is expected to take effect next year.

"Vietnam - with nearly 80 million people - is an exciting market for American companies," said Lionel Johnson, Citigroup Vice President and Director, International Government Relations, who is leading the mission. "Many of our companies have been operating in Vietnam since relations were re-established six years ago. We want to join the President in strengthening those ties and increasing opportunities for trade between our countries." Johnson serves on the board of the US-Vietnam Trade Council and is Chairman of the US-ASEAN Business Council's US-Vietnam Business Committee.

Participants in the mission hope to return from the trip better prepared to seek Congressional approval of the new trade agreement. "The companies participating in this mission have a strong commitment to developing our economic relationship with Vietnam and will be playing an integral role in working for the Congressional enactment of the trade agreement," said, Virginia Foote, President of the US-Vietnam Trade Council.

US-ASEAN Business Council Senior Director Frances Zwenig said companies are anxious to get a better understanding of opportunities in Vietnam. "The trade agreement offers the potential for significant new trade and investment between the U.S. and Vietnam. We will be meeting with potential business partners as well as government officials to explore those opportunities."

The delegation also hopes to address some of the existing obstacles to trade and investment, which have discouraged U.S. companies from expanding in Vietnam.

Members of the group will visit both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City where they will meet with local business leaders, government officials and American investors. They will also be conducting trade seminars - in conjunction with senior U.S. government officials - to promote trade and investment between the United States and Vietnam.

Vietnam's economy grew by 4.4% last year, and the World Bank recently forecast growth of 5% for this year, followed by a 4.4% expansion in 2001. During the first eight months of this year, U.S. trade with Vietnam totaled US$783 million, compared with US$510 million during the same period in 1999.

Among the companies participating in the mission are: ACE INA, American International Group, American Vietnamese Management Consortium, American President Lines, The Boeing Company, Bridgecreek, Caltex, Cisco Systems, Inc., Citigroup, The Chubb Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, Controls/inc, Crane International, Daimler-Chrysler, Federal Express, General Electric, General Motors, Harza, Humphrey Healthcare, Lucent, Le Viet Canh & Vuong Ngoc Quyen Foundation, Motorola, New York Life, Nike, Oracle, Pacific Ventures, Procter & Gamble, State of Oklahoma, State Street Global Advisors, United Parcel Service, United Technologies Corporation, and Unocal.