The Senate Finance Committee passed permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) legislation for Vietnam. This would allow Vietnam to become a member of the World Trade Organization. The legislation is expected to be considered by the Senate in September.

About three-fourths of U.S. ag exports to Vietnam will face base bound duty rates of 15% or less. This includes cotton, selected beef, pork, and variety meats, dairy products, grapes, apples, pears, and soybeans.

The Ag Coalition for U.S.-Vietnam Trade said earlier this summer in a letter to Congress, "the U.S. will gain significant new access to Vietnam's growing market, while Vietnam will gain no greater access to the U.S. market, making it an undeniable win for American agriculture."

Coalition members include the American Meat Institute, American Soybean Association, Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, North American Equipment Dealers Association, and USA Rice Federation.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent