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Monday, 30 August 2004
Page: 26779


Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 22 July 2004:

With reference to Vietnam's efforts to join the World Trade Organization (WTO):

(1) What role is Australia playing in Vietnam's efforts to join the WTO.

(2) What talks, if any, has Australia conducted or facilitated in relation to Vietnam's application.

(3) What is Australia's position regarding free trade in books, newspapers, music and intellectual property.

(4) What consideration is being given to human rights in relation to these negotiations.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The following answer has been provided by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Australia is involved in the meetings of the WTO Working Party on Vietnam's accession and is engaged in bilateral market access negotiations with Vietnam. Australia also provides assistance to the process of trade liberalisation in Vietnam through the Vietnam-Australia Development Cooperation Strategy, including through training in trade related policy development and capacity building for public sector transparency and accountability.

(2) Australia participates in the meetings of the WTO Working Party on Vietnam's accession, which first met in 1998, and also engages in bilateral market access negotiations with Vietnam.

(3) Australia supports the liberalisation of market access for books, newspapers and music. In relation to intellectual property, Australia actively supports the protection of intellectual property rights and promotes the effective and balanced implementation of the WTO's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

(4) Vietnam's acceptance of and adherence to international human rights instruments and norms is not an element of Vietnam's WTO accession. Australia maintains a vigorous dialogue with Vietnam on human rights issues, including through the annual Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue.