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Vietnam State Media: Hanoi Reaches WTO Agreement With Washington

Vietnamese and U.S. officials say the countries have reached an agreement that will pave the way for Vietnam to join the World Trade Organization.

The Vietnam News Agency says Hanoi concluded the 12th round of trade negotiations Saturday in Washington following a week of intense discussions. Vietnamese officials in Washington say the deal is expected to be signed in June.

U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman called it a "good agreement" for the United States. He says it opens a new and growing market for American agricultural goods, financial services and manufactured products.

As part of the deal, Vietnam has agreed to scrap $4 billion subsidy plan for garments and textiles when it becomes a WTO member.

Vietnam wants to join the global trade body before hosting a summit of the regional economic bloc APEC in November.

The U.S. Congress must first grant Vietnam permanent normal trade relations before it can enter the world trade body.

Some U.S. lawmakers are expected to scrutinize Vietnam's human rights record before they upgrade the communist country's trade status.

Vietnam reached a trade deal with Mexico last month, leaving the United States the only country Hanoi needs to conclude bilateral negotiations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.