Vietnam Briefing

Officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The name Vietnam translates as "South Viet", and was officially adopted in 1945. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east.

Vietnamese authorities, in recent years, have moved to implement structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive export-driven industries. However, Vietnam's economy remains dominated by state-owned enterprises, which produce about 40 percent of Vietnam's GDP. Agriculture's share of economic output has shrunk from 25 percent in 2000 to roughly 22 percent in 2011, while industry's share increased from 36 percent to 40 percent during the same period. Exports increased by more than 33 percent in 2011.

In February 2011, Vietnam shifted its focus away from economic growth to stabilizing its economy through tightening its fiscal and monetary policies. In early 2012, Vietnam unveiled a broad "three pillar" economic reform program that proposed the restructuring of public investment, state-owned enterprises and the banking sector.

Vietnam's imports include machinery and equipment, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for the clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics and automobiles. It's exports include clothes, shoes, marine products, crude oil, electronics, wooden products, rice and machinery.

Major import partners of Vietnam include China (22 percent), South Korea (13.2 percent), Japan (10.4 percent), Taiwan (8.6 percent), Thailand (6.4 percent) and Singapore (6.4 percent). Major export partners include the United States (18 percent), China (11 percent), Japan (11 percent) and Germany (3.7 percent).

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