Vietnam

Labour 153 Democrat Members of the House of Representatives, 29 May 2014, “It is clear that Vietnam, in particular, must do substantial work to achieve a minimally acceptable level of respect for workers’ rights for a trading partner of the United States. Vietnamese law requires that all unions in the country be affiliated with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, which describes itself as ‘a member of the political system under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam’, and in so doing violates workers’ rights to form and join independent labor unions of their own choosing. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor lists Vietnam as one of just four countries where there is reason to believe that garments might have been produced by forced or indentured child labor. … These issues must be addressed in a serious and meaningful way in order for the TPP to move forward.  We must do everything possible to prevent the American marketplace from being flooded with imports manufactured by workers laboring without human dignity and individual rights. The Administration must refrain from validating such woefully inadequate labor norms and the final agreement should be withheld until these countries embrace the need to reform their labor laws and move aggressively to implement them.”

Labour/Human Rights, 10 Bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives, 13 December 2013, “Improving Vietnam’s commitment to human rights should be a top policy priority of the United States. We understand the Administration believes the TPP negotiations present an opportunity to address some of these issues. We are skeptical, however, that meaningful improvement can be made unless Vietnam’s participation is contingent upon tangible improvement on the ground and verifiable confirmation that they have fully met the high standards in the agreement.”

Labour 28 Democrat Members of the House of Representatives, 20 January 2010, “Given the disconcerting labor rights records of Vietnam and Brunei, the issue of enforcement will be a critical one in the TPP negotiations. … TPP labor standards must require signatories to enforce the core ILO standards.”  (House Trade Working Group)

SPS (Seafood), 4 Bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives, 13 May 2014, “Exports to the United States have frequently contained illegal veterinary medicines, fungicides and other chemicals … In addition, shrimp and catfish exports have been illegally dumped into the U.S. market at artificially low prices. …  Vietnam has also been a point of transshipment of seafood products from China designed to evade either antidumping orders, countervailing duty orders and/or Food and Drug Administration Import Alert orders … Any TPP negotiations to provide Vietnam with increased seafood and fisheries market access to the United states must include binding, enforceable provisions in the body of the agreement to address these critical issues.”

SPS (Seafood) 3 Bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives, 29 November 2012, “We believe that past U.S. trade agreements demonstrate that a TPP FTA would likely result in further increases in U.S. imports of shrimp and other seafood from Vietnam, and we understand that representatives from your office recognize the public health concerns that would result.  They have suggested that through improved science-based risk assessments in partner countries as included in the SPS Chapter of the TPP FTA, the risk associated with imported seafood will decrease.  However, in the case of Vietnam, it is our understanding that a number of legally enforceable regulations, including a Ministry of Fisheries Decision (No. 29/2005/QD-BTS) that required all consignments of shrimp and other seafood products to be tested before shipment to the United States, have not been extended or have been revoked.  This calls into question whether food safety standards are in fact being raised in that countryVietnam has bilateral SPS agreements with a number of countries, including Canada, and we believe a similar U.S.-Vietnam agreement that puts in place a strict inspection and certification regime is in the U.S. public’s best interest.”

SPS (Seafood) 1 House Democrat, 7 September 2011, “The FDA, for example, has already issued 25 import alerts for Vietnam this year with Vietnamese seafood detained for misbranding, E. coli and more. Seafood imports from Vietnam are plagued by unusually high levels of antibiotic residues, microbial contamination, and other serious food safety concerns confirmed by FDA laboratory testing. Between 2003 and 2006, more than one-fifth of all veterinary drug residues that FDA identified in imported seafood were in imports from Vietnam even as less than 4 percent of all imported seafood in the time period was shipped from that country.” (Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education)

Market Access (Apparel), 167 Bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives, 10 July 2013, “…we are troubled by the position of the Vietnamese government regarding the textile negotiations and the impact this standpoint could have on the U.S. textile industry’s suppliers and its export partners… Vietnam is seeking to replace long standing textile rules that have been included in previous free trade agreements with a new rule that would allow Vietnam to source textiles from China and export garments duty free… We strongly urge the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to maintain its current position for strong textile rules which include the “yarn forward” rule-of-origin.”

Market Access (Footwear),19 Democrat Members of the House of Representatives, 10 May 2012, “As you know, import-sensitive rubber and plastic footwear is covered by 24 tariff classifications on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.  These tariffs allow U.S. manufacturers to compete with countries such as Vietnam, which pays lower wages and offers significant governmental assistance to its footwear industry. …  In addition to maintaining import-sensitive duties, we ask that you insist on strong rules of origin (ROO) standards to ensure that footwear coming into the U.S. is actually produced in the country of origin and to prevent transshipments that seek to avoid paying tariffs.  There is substantial precedent for this. The Korea FTA, for example, required imported footwear to meet a 55 percent regional content value as calculated by the build-up method.  Due to the inclusion of Vietnam, the TPP should at a minimum include an equally strong standard.  Including a weak ROO will give Vietnam an additional competitive advantage and undermine the benefits of import-sensitive duties.”

Market Access (Textiles)/State-Owned Enterprises, 76 Bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives, 1 May 2012, “Without strong textile rules in the TPP, state-subsidized producers in Vietnam could easily overwhelm U.S. and other producers in the Western Hemisphere and around the world, destroying billions of dollars worth of export markets and causing job losses in the hundreds of thousands. … We hope you will focus on the following objectives… Yarn-forward rule of origin, Market access rules, Customs enforcement rules…”

Procurement,69 Democrat Members of the House of Representatives, 3 May 2012, “Of special concern is the prospect that firms established in TPP countries, such as the many Chinese firms in Vietnam, could obtain waivers from Buy American policies. … While we may have different views on other aspects of the prospective TPP, we are united in our belief that American trade agreements should not limit the ability of Congress and U.S. state legislatures to determine what procurement policies are in our national interest.”