Rep. Levin Statement on Visit by Vietnam General Secretary

Jul 7, 2015

WASHINGTON – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today issued the following statement following a luncheon hosted by Vice President Biden in honor of Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam:

“It is important that we not let other important factors, including goodwill between our two nations, cloud out the real concerns we have with Vietnam on trade, which is the subject of TPP. More trade alone isn’t enough – it must be based on standards governing competition. Labor reform in Vietnam must mean more than lip service – it must mean concrete action that complies with basic international standards before, not after, an agreement.

“It must be made clear during the General Secretary’s visit that TPP will require meaningful implementation of international standards so there’s a real right of assembly, including the right of workers to choose their representatives and their own organizations at all levels.

“We met with the General Secretary when I traveled with the delegation to Vietnam in March, and there was no meaningful discussion of any real change. Indeed, people were still jailed for trying to form an independent labor union. This needs to be addressed now, otherwise it’s just borrowing still more trouble once an agreement becomes public.”

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