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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Vietnam set for WTO membership
Peasants walking past a luxury shop in Hanoi
There are concerns about economic inequality in Vietnam
Vietnam has been given the go-ahead to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and could be installed as its 150th member by early November.

The move would bring to an end a 12-year journey for Vietnam which hopes membership will help it maintain its rapid economic growth.

A meeting of the WTO's main negotiating group approved the terms of Vietnam's membership at a meeting in Geneva.

It had introduced all the necessary reforms, the trade body said.

It adds another little shining star to all the other accomplishments they have had in the last 10 years
Tom O'Dore
Chairman, Hanoi's American Chamber of Commerce

Formalities are expected to be completed by the body's executive council.

'Extensive' commitment

Vietnam has set out its intention to leave the ranks of the world's poorest countries by 2010.

It has Asia's fastest economic growth outside of China, with its economy set to grow by 7.8% in 2006, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Commitment to the WTO had been "extensive and far-reaching", said Vietnam's trade minister Troung Dinh Tuyen.

Membership will increase Vietnam's status at the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum which begins a meeting in Hanoi on November 12 - five days after Vietnam's membership could be ratified.

"It just adds another little shining star to all the other accomplishments they have had in the last 10 years," said chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi, Tom O'Dore.

In May, Vietnam completed bilateral negotiations with the US over access to markets.

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