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Vietnam ‘s president opens US trip with NY stock exchange visit

ICC Note: Vietnam ’s President continues his trip to the U.S. in an effort to build strong fiscal and diplomatic ties while he continues to persecute Christians in Vietnam .

6/20/07 Vietnam (AFP) – Vietnam ‘s President Nguyen Minh Triet kicked off his landmark visit to the United States Tuesday by visiting the world’s largest stock market in a bid to demonstrate his country’s economic reforms.

The reform minded president of the communist Southeast Asian state was at ease as he toured the New York Stock Exchange, smiling and waving his hand while posing for pictures with traders…

“The financial and securities markets have an increasingly important role to play in the Vietnamese economy with the participation of a large number of both domestic and foreign investors,” said the 63-year-old leader, protege of ex-premier Vo Van Kiet, architect of Vietnam ‘s doi moi (renewal) market reforms.

He said Vietnam looked forward to support from the United States in developing its securities market as an important channel of fund raising for the national economy.

The stock exchanges of the two countries could jointly help develop the Vietnamese capital market into a regional financial center for the benefit of both economies, Triet said.

Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange Marshall Carter said the visit reflected the strengthening bilateral economic and business relations.

“We applaud the PresidentÂ’s efforts to promote economic reform to make way for more open markets in Vietnam ,” he said, adding that he looked forward to the day the first Vietnamese company would be listed on the exchange…

Vietnam , long politically isolated in Southeast Asia , is keen to join the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member next year.

Triet is scheduled to meet US President George W. Bush on Friday at the White House, where the two leaders will oversee the signing of an agreement that aims to pave the way for an eventual free trade pact.

Triet’s visit has been clouded by a series of arrests and trials of dissidents in Vietnam , and the White House has indicated Bush will express his “deep concern” to Triet despite the blossoming ties.

Vietnamese-American pro-democracy groups are planning large protests outside the White House against Hanoi ‘s alleged human rights abuses when the two leaders meet…

Business and trade are expected to dominate Triet’s maiden visit, with major business deals ready to be sealed in the energy, telecommunications, information technology, financial services and other sectors, officials said….

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