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
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
foreign investment in Vietnam.
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
Office hours: Monday to Saturday 7.30 am to 12 noon and 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm.
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