How is the business environment in Vietnam?
The Money Week has recently described Vietnam as the ‘Asia’s most exciting market’. GDP growth averaged 6.8% per year from 1997 to 2004 even against the background of the Asian financial crisis and a global recession, and growth hit 8% in 2005 and 7.8% in 2006.
Since 2001, however, Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic liberalization and international integration.
Vietnam's membership in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and entry into force of the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement in December 2001 have led to even more rapid changes in Vietnam's trade and economic regime.
Vietnam joined the WTO in January 2007, following over a decade long negotiation process. This should provide an important boost to the economy and should help to ensure the continuation of liberalizing reforms.
Among other benefits, accession allows Vietnam to take advantage of the phase-out of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, which eliminated quotas on textiles and clothing for WTO partners on 1 January 2005.
Vietnam is working to create jobs to meet the challenge of a labor force that is growing by more than one million people every year. Vietnamese authorities have tightened monetary and fiscal policies to stem high inflation. Hanoi is targeting an economic growth rate of 7.5-8% during the next five years.
Agriculture's share of economic output has continued to shrink, from about 25% in 2000 to 20% in 2006.
Coffee, rubber, cotton, tea, pepper, soybeans, cashews, sugar cane, peanuts, bananas, poultry, fish and seafood are important agricultural products.
The main industries are: food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building; mining, coal, steel; cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil and paper.
Marine resources are substantial. The tourism potential is tremendous.