Vietnam is becoming a WTO member next month

Vietnam was given the go-ahead on Thursday to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and become its 150th member before the end of the year.

A WTO working party approved documents setting out the terms of the South-East Asian country's accession -- lifting the last major hurdle to entry after 12 years of tough negotiations.

The United States, praised Hanoi's "courage" in the marathon talks. Vietnam's membership "will be an important addition to the organization," a U.S. official told the working party meeting, while an EU envoy said Vietnam had transformed its economy and trading system as the talks had progressed.

Hanoi's Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen told the meeting his country and its 82 million people had taken on "extensive and far-reaching commitments" to open markets and economic reform and hoped to keep up the momentum.

The entry documents now go before the full WTO membership at a meeting of the body's General Council, probably on November 7. Diplomats say approval there is a foregone conclusion.

Vietnam's parliament, the National Assembly, would then have to ratify the accords and formally advise the WTO it has done so. Exactly 30 days later the nation automatically becomes a member.

Source: Reuters