by Tao Jun Le Yanna
HANOI Vietnam (Xinhua) -- Vietnam is
poised to achieve its economic growth target of 6.7 percent in
2017, the highest rate in nearly 10 years, after the government
implemented many action plans to facilitate business
development, investment and business environment.
Vietnamese economy in 2017 boasted 3 brightest spots, namely
high gross domestic product (GDP) growth, stable macroeconomy,
and improved investment and business climate, foreign and
Vietnamese experts told Xinhua in mid-December.
For the first time in many years, Vietnam is poised, in 2017,
to realize all 13 socioeconomic development targets set by its
top legislature, including eight targets already achieved and
five others having already surpassed their goals.
After growing 5.15 percent in the first quarter of this year,
6.17 percent in the second quarter, and 7.46 percent in the
third quarter, the country’s economy is most likely to grow 6.7
percent for the whole year, with estimated GDP reaching some
5,000 trillion Vietnamese dong (221 billion U.S. dollars), or
GDP per capita of around 2,400 U.S. dollars.
Driven by buoyant tourism and strong banking activity,
services growth rose to 7.3 percent from 6.7 percent in the
corresponding period in 2016. With growth expected to strengthen
further in the fourth quarter, the the Asian Development Bank (ADB)
has lifted the growth forecasts for Vietnam to 6.7 percent in
both 2017 and 2018.
Vietnam is also set to keep its consumer price index (CPI) at
4 percent, and core inflation rate at around 1.6 percent in
The country’s foreign reserves hit an all-time record high of
46 billion U.S. dollars as of mid-November, rising by 4 billion
dollars from late June this year and by 5 billion dollars from
late last year, according to the State Bank of Vietnam, the
country’s central bank.
In the first 11 months of this year, Vietnam reaped export
turnovers of 193.8 billion U.S. dollars, up 21.2 percent
on-year, and enjoyed a trade surplus of 2.8 billion U.S.
dollars, said the country’s General Statistics Office.
Meanwhile, Vietnam secured foreign investment of roughly 33.1
billion U.S. dollars, up 82.8 percent, and hosted more than 11.6
million foreign visitors, up 27.8 percent on-year.
According to the ADB, Vietnam’s manufacturing output grew
robustly, expanding by 12.8 percent in the first three quarters
of 2017, marking the highest rate of growth in the sector since
2011, and it is likely to be surpassed in the fourth quarter.
The statistics, experts said, boded very well for Vietnam and
its rising success, amid the global economy’s sluggish recovery
which faces a rising wave of anti-globalization and
The success was born from the Vietnamese economy’s gradual
shift from a reliance on resources to, processing, manufacturing
and hi-tech agriculture.
"The GDP growth we have achieved so far this year has come
from growth in production and service, not in credit or mining,"
head of the Vietnamese Government Office, Mai Tien Dung, told
reporters in October.
Vietnam’s high economic growth, macroeconomic stability and
sharpened competitive edge are mainly attributed to the timely
adoption of proper resolutions of the Communist Party of
Vietnam, the National Assembly and the government, including
many effective plans of action and solutions.
"Notably, the government has set far-reaching targets to
improve the investment and business environment, including
slashing 30-50 percent of administrative procedures and
conditions, not criminalizing civil and economic relations, and
not conducting overlapped inspections," stated Vu Tien Loc,
President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Vietnam is also striving to advance to become one of the top
three ASEAN economies in terms of institutional quality and
favorable business environment, and meeting standards set by the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),
"The number of enterprises established this year is poised to
surpass 120,000 and this figure proves the better investment and
business climate," he noted.
Up to 116,045 enterprises with a total registered capital of
nearly 1,132 billion Vietnamese dong (over 50 billion U.S.
dollars) were set up in Vietnam in the first 11 months of this
year, seeing respective year-on-year rises of 14.1 percent and
41.9 percent, according to the country’s Business Registration
However, Vietnamese firms are still facing many difficulties,
with nearly 60 percent of enterprises yet to become profitable,
and up to 65,000 businesses being dissolved or ceasing
operations temporarily in the first 11 months of this year, Loc
said, adding that private firms are smaller than state-owned
enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises, and are
disadvantaged when it comes to acquiring land and credit.
"The gap in institutional quality and business environment
between Vietnam and the three biggest economies in the ASEAN
region (Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines) is still wide.
Vietnam has sizable exports and imports, but its logistics
costs are high and less competitive than many other countries,"
Foreign experts, including those from the ADB and the World
Bank (WB), shared similar views and put forth some
recommendations for Vietnam to achieve high and sustainable
economic growth in 2018 and the following years.
ADB senior country economist for Vietnam, Aaron Batten,
stated that Vietnam is changing rapidly, propelled by major
reforms which have liberalized the economy and taken advantage
of its comparative advantages.
Increased foreign direct investment and closer integration
with the global economy have been a result of this, along with
massive growth in private domestic enterprises.
According to Batten, as Vietnam’s young, growing labor force
begins to grow older and the transition of workers from
agriculture to manufacturing and services begins to slow, the
country now needs new sources of growth to replace them.
"To achieve this, Vietnam will need to work to establish a
better enabling environment at the level of individual
industries and sectors by enhancing domestic competition and
helping industries move up the value chain.
"This will allow Vietnamese firms to foster greater benefits
from foreign investment and help industries like manufacturing
and services to step-up their contributions to productivity
growth," the ADB economist recommended.
According to the WB, continuing reforms to improve regulatory
quality and to ensure consistent, efficient, and fair
enforcement is crucial for Vietnam to create an enabling
environment for private sector investment, economic growth, and
A slow-down in structural reforms could also impact the
ongoing recovery, especially given the weaker growth in
Enhancing macroeconomic resilience and structural reforms
could lift Vietnam’s growth potential over the medium term.
"Vietnam can further lift productivity growth through
investments in required infrastructure and skills, as well as
deeper reforms of the business environment, state-owned
enterprises and banking sector," said WB lead economist for
Vietnam Sebastian Eckardt.
In November, Vietnam’s top legislature targeted GDP growth of
6.5-6.7 percent in 2018, up from 6.21 percent in 2016.
It also eyed an export turnover increase of 7-8 percent, and
total investment for social development representing 33-34
percent of GDP next year.