Bills may grant Vietnam normal trade with US

Lawmakers on Tuesday introduced bills that would grant normal trade relations to Vietnam, part of US efforts to boost business with one of Asia's fastest growing economies and another step toward Vietnam's long-cherished goal of joining the World Trade Organization. "This is the final step on the road to normalization," Sen. Max Baucus said. Normal trade relations between the former war enemies, he said, would create "a story where trade and markets overshadow memories of guns and war." The two countries paved the way for Vietnam's entry into the Geneva-based global commerce body by signing an agreement in late May that US officials say further knocks down trade barriers with a country whose two-way trade with the United States grew to nearly $8 billion last year.