The New York Times: Is Vietnam the next 'Asian miracle'?

(VOVWORLD) - The New York Times recently ran an article entitled: “Is Vietnam the next ‘Asian mirable’? by Ruchir Sharma, the chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. He said containing the COVID-19 pandemic allowed Vietnam to quickly reopen businesses, and it is now expected to be one of the world's fastest-growing economies this year.

Ruchir Sharma  said that within days of China announcing its first case of Covid-19, Vietnam was mobilizing  to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Using all kinds of resources, the Vietnamese government exhorted the nation's 100 million citizens to identify carriers and trace contacts, contacts of contacts, even contacts of contacts of contacts. Rapid isolation of outbreaks has kept Vietnam's death rate among the lowest in the world.

While many nations are suffering enormous economic contractions and running to the International Monetary Fund for financial rescues, Vietnam is growing at a 3 per cent annual pace. Even more impressive, its growth is driven by a record trade surplus, despite the collapse in global trade.

The author said Vietnam has sustained a similar pace for three decades. Even as global trade slumped in the 2000s, Vietnam's exports grew 16 per cent a year, by far the fastest rate in the world, and three times the emerging-world average.

Vietnam devotes its resources to its exports, building roads and ports to get goods overseas, and schools to educate workers.

The Vietnamese government invests about 8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) each year on new building projects, and now gets higher grades for the quality of its infrastructure than any nation at a similar stage of development.

It also steers foreigners' money in the same direction. Over the last five years, foreign direct investment has averaged more than 6 per cent of GDP in Vietnam, the highest rate of any emerging country. Most of it goes to building manufacturing plants and related infrastructure, and most of it now comes from fellow Asian countries, including South Korea, Japan and China.

The article wrote that Vietnam has become a favourite destination for export manufacturers. Average annual per capita income in Vietnam has quintupled since the late 1980s to nearly 3,000 USD.

Tech surpassed clothing and textiles as Vietnam's leading export in 2015, and accounts for most of its record trade surplus this year.

In a protectionist era, Vietnam is a signatory to more than a dozen free trade agreements – including a landmark deal recently signed with the European Union.

The New York Times’ article concludes that now Vietnam looks like a miracle from a bygone era, exporting its way to prosperity.

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