P.M. BRIEFING : Senator Sees Vietnam Opening

From Times Wire Services

Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) said today that Vietnam's moves toward a market economy had opened the door for possible U.S. investment if Washington and Hanoi can end lingering differences.

Lugar, the highest-ranking U.S. lawmaker to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, met with Vietnamese Premier Doi Muoi and Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach over the weekend.

"We will report back to Washington that considerable progress has been made in moving toward market economics in Vietnam, that there are opportunities clearly for American businesses and that the United States should carefully consider whether that business opportunity situation should progress," Lugar told reporters.

The United States has maintained a total trade, investment and aid embargo against Hanoi since it defeated South Vietnam in 1975. Vietnam, unable to obtain World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans, has been devastated economically by the embargo.

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