He said he had discussed the detail of the issue with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan and Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc. According to him, the accession process is a little complicated, but in brief, it involved a new member work in multilateral level with all WTO members as well as a series of bilateral accords.
"The multilateral effort requires coming into compliance with the basic WTO rules, which for Viet Nam will require changes in some related legal documents," he said.
For the bilateral accord, US and Vietnamese counterparts will be meeting very soon on some of the issues such as opening the service market, agriculture and goods, Zoellick said. He added that Viet Nam had done a lot of work in a short time in its accession to the WTO.
Also at the press briefing, Zoellick said when he met with Deputy PM Vu Khoan, he conveyed to him on behalf of the US President, the invitation for Vietnamese PM Phan Van Khai to visit the US in the late half of June this year. He added that the trip is "a chance for the two countries to review the issues on bilateral, regional and global relationship."
According to Zoellick, the relations between the US and Viet Nam in the past three years saw a big increase in all aspects, including economy, politics, culture and education. He said "the two sides have established a firm foundation on which to build stronger bilateral ties and also broader relations," and hopes that "the relationship will continue to progress on a fast pace."
Relating religious affairs, Zoellick stressed that "Viet Nam has made important steps" in the issue, particularly the approval of some new regulations on religious affairs. He also said that the issue was affirmed by John Hanford, US Ambassador At-Large for International and Religious Freedom, in his press statement in Washington on May 5.