EU, Chile share views on Doha round talks
Vietnam inches closer to WTO membership
GENEVA, Mar 28 (Agencies): Vietnam inched closer to World Trade Organisation membership yesterday when senior officials from Hanoi held a new round of talks with nations that are already part of the global body.
Deputy Trade Minister Luong Van Tu told negotiators that Vietnam was "on the last paving stone on the long road to membership".
In particular, he said, Hanoi was "moving to a final deal" in crucial talks on a trade agreement with Washington.
An accord with the United States is one of the key hurdles remaining before Hanoi can get a green light to join the WTO, whose current 149 member governments set the rules of global commerce.
"The two sides are trying to conclude soon," Tu later told reporters.
US trade diplomats in Geneva, where the WTO is based, declined to make detailed comment. But officials said that Washington had signalled to the meeting that they had made "substantial progress".
One of the most vexed issues in the US-Vietnam talks has been copyright piracy, as Washington targets the country's vibrant bootlegging industry.
But talks have also focused on farm trade tariffs, telecommunications and market access for service companies.
Vietnam has already completed negotiations with more than 20 governments, and with the 25-nation European Union which works as a bloc in the WTO.