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Last updated : Nov 2009
Vietnam Business
Vietnam Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com

Vietnam Economy

For more than 30 years Vietnam's economy was ravaged by war. Policy failures and a trade boycott by the USA crippled its development. When the US ended the boycott in 1994, the Vietnamese introduced liberalising and deregulating measures resulting in an economic growth of 8% to 9% yearly. The Asian financial crisis in 1997 put a brief halt on the economy, but yearly growth has since risen to 7.2%. In 2003, inflation was 3.8%, and unemployment estimated at 7%.

Agriculture is still the principal economic activity in Vietnam and produces 25% of total production. Rice is the staple crop of which Vietnam is the 2nd-largest exporter of the world. (Thailand is #1.) Some additional cash crops are coffee, rubber, tea, sugar cane, groundnuts and cotton. In the past, timber was exploited on a grand scale but the industry declined throughout the 1990s. Logging has been totally banned since 1997. Coal, Oil, and natural gas exists in large quantities, as well as deposits of tin, zinc, chromium, antimony, and gold. The gas and oil fields are mainly offshore and of somewhat low quality, but following stable growth throughout the 1990s, it now accounts for 16% of Vietnam’s industrial output. The rest of the industrial sector is committed to the production of chemicals, textiles, machinery.and processed foods. The industrial sector, with an annual average growth of over 10%t since 1995, now accounts for 25% of GDP.

With the end of the US boycott in 1994 Vietnam was allowed to join the World Bank and IMF as well as giving access to the wider international financial system. The finance and banking sector has experienced rapid growth in the last few years, and the government has lately became aware of the importance of modernising what has been a rather primitive system. Similar considerations apply to Vietnam’s somewhat poor infrastructure and the archaic state of many of its Government-owned industries. A new trade agreement with the USA probably increases foreign investment in Vietnam.

, the Asian Development Bank's member, has signed the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong are Vietnam’s main trading partners, followed by France and Germany.


For meetings attenders should normally wear smart lightweight casuals while suits are required for only the most formal occasions. English is not spoken by all business people but a basic knowledge of French is considered useful. Vietnamese translation should be included on the back of Business cards.

Office hours:
Monday to Saturday 7.30 am to 12 noon and 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm.

Commercial Information

The below organisations can give advice:

Vietcochamber (Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Vietnam)
9 Dao Duy Anh Street, Hanoi
Telephone: (4) 574-3084
Fax: (4) 574-2020
e-mail: vcci@hn.vnn.vn

Useful travel links
Business in Vietnam about conducting business in Vietnam
Business Protocol about business protocol in Vietnam
Doing Business Doing business in Vietnam
Vietnam Business All about business in Vietnam