The conventional wisdom is that in an election year, President Bush wouldn't dare lift the U.S. embargo on trade with Vietnam. But U.S. businesses lobbying to end the ban believe they could get their wish by early summer.
Why? With Europeans and Asians bidding eagerly for Vietnamese business, Hanoi is warning U.S. companies that the contracts it has earmarked for them won't wait forever. Moreover, GOP challenger Patrick Buchanan doesn't oppose an end to the ban. One stumbling block: disputes with Vietnam over accounting for U.S. servicemen still missing in action.