Vietnam Strengthens International Partnerships in the Face of Global Economic Headwinds

Global market turmoil continues to impact Vietnam, with international inflation and slow growth in major export markets leading to local job losses and declining overseas orders. However, despite these economic headwinds, Vietnam remains confident in its long-term prospects.

Speaking at the 2023 Vietnam Socio-Economic Forum on 17 September, the Head of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee, Vu Hong Thanh, emphasised Vietnam’s strong fundamentals with inflation remaining at 3.1 per cent so far in 2023. 

Describing the country as a “bright spot in the bleak picture of the world economy”, he highlighted a raft of positive economic signs. These include strong GDP growth in quarter two of 4.14 per cent, surpassing the 3.28 per cent growth seen in quarter one. Likewise, he highlighted an 18 per cent increase in new business registrations in August compared to the same month in 2022, with 14,000 new enterprises opening their doors. This takes the total number so far in 2023 to over 100,000 – an annual increase of 2.3 per cent.

China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit

Meanwhile, speaking in China at the 20th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh emphasised the need for greater trade and investment between the world’s second biggest economy and its regional partners.

Over the last two decades, bilateral trade has risen from USD 78 billion to almost USD one trillion while investment has now surpassed USD 350 billion.

However, the Prime Minister emphasised the need to go further, with open markets, new value chains, cooperation in the digital and green sectors, and improved cross-border infrastructure – such as smart border gates and expanded rail lines – being key to unlocking new trade in the future.

Belt and Road Summit

Infrastructure was also on the agenda at the eighth ‘Belt and Road Summit’ held in Hong Kong this month.

Minister of Planning and Investment, Nguyen Chi Dung, joined government officials and 6,000 attendees from 70 countries and used the event to highlight Vietnam’s role as a bridge between China and ASEAN and to call for greater cooperation on reforms and infrastructure – such as improved rail links – to increase trade.

US President Visits Hanoi

Earlier in September, in what was to be a seminal month for Vietnam’s international relations, President Joe Biden visited Hanoi to cement a new comprehensive strategic partnership between the US and Vietnam.

At the heart of this partnership is an agreement to cooperate on innovation and investment and to open up opportunities for businesses on both sides in science, new technologies, digitalisation, and renewables.

Green Growth

Sticking with green growth, Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai spoke at the 2023 Ho Chi Minh City (“HCMC”) Economic Forum on 16 September, where he praised the southern metropolis as the best place to pilot sustainable investment projects.

Vietnam has passed legislation giving HCMC unique tools for development, and these will be needed to drive the city’s transition to cleaner, greener growth. 

HCMC leaders are now developing a 2030 strategic roadmap to green development, with a vision to 2050. This will include a particular emphasis on green energy and transportation, such as increasing the use of solar power and electric vehicles.

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