Vietnam, Chile sign trade pact

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The leaders of Chile and Vietnam on Friday signed an accord to lift tariffs on thousands of goods, giving a boost to the small but rapidly growing trade between the Pacific Rim nations.

In the fruition of talks that opened in 2006, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang formally inked the agreement as they met in Hawaii on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit.

"We are not just interested in the trade in goods, but also in exchange of services and investment in the two countries," Pinera said next to his Vietnamese counterpart.

The accord will eliminate tariffs on more than 9,000 products at various timetables. Within three years, the two countries will offer preferential conditions to each other in the areas of service and investment.

Chile, a major exporter of minerals, and Vietnam, a major seller of seafood and textiles, have avidly pursued trade deals around the world.

Both countries are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US-led effort to start building a region-wide trade agreement.

Chile sold $231 million in goods to Vietnam in 2010, while Vietnam exported $107 million to the South American nation, according to Chilean officials. The two-way trade marked growth of 40 percent from the previous year.

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