The decision to station three American diplomats in Hanoi moves the U.S. even closer to recognition of Vietnam. U.S. companies are hustling to get in position for a go-ahead from Washington--expected this fall. In the latest move, Coca-Cola Co. has inked a $25 million soft-drink joint-venture deal with its former Vietnamese bottling company, Chuong Duong Beverage Factory, through Coca-Cola bottlers in Singapore and Thailand. The deal is contingent on Bill Clinton's allowing the embargo against Vietnam to expire.

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