Reforms vital for Vietnamese economy to stay on track

Cyclists ride past a large poster advertising luxury cars on a road in Hanoi on July 4, 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Suiwah Leung, ANU

After several years of macroeconomic turmoil, 2013 finally saw a return to some semblance of stability in the Vietnamese economy. There is no time to lose.

The government needs to push through significant reforms in key areas in order to lift long-term growth. Read more…

Is Vietnam’s bamboo diplomacy threatened by pandas?

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang as they attend the cooperation signing ceremony between Russia and Vietnam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam in November 2013 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Thuy T. Do, ANU

Vietnam is maximising its political leverage with ‘clumping bamboo’ diplomacy. Although Thailand is famous for its skilful ‘bamboo diplomacy’ — always solidly rooted but flexible enough to bend whichever way the wind blows to survive — the Vietnamese have found another diplomatic philosophy to engage great powers. Read more…

Bitter taste brewing in Vietnamese coffee

A woman walks past an advertising poster for G7 coffee. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Pham Thu Huong and Dao Ngoc Tien, FTU

Vietnam is now one of the largest coffee producers and exporters in the world — with a 20 per cent global market share. It exports coffee beans to more than 70 countries all over the world, and the US, Germany and Spain are its main importers. Although roasted and instant coffee exports have increased steadily year on year,the industry faces risks due to its low capacity to deal with world price fluctuations. Read more…

Small and medium business speaks up in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, the economic centre and largest city in Vietnam (Photo: Milei.vencel/Wikipedia)

Author: Tu Phuong Nguyen, University of Adelaide

New social forces emerging from market reforms are penetrating the formal agenda of Vietnam’s one-party regime. In particular, beyond the corporatist state structure, private entrepreneurs have engaged more actively in organised business groups, and these groups are helping to voice the concerns of these entrepreneurs. The policy environment is more open, Read more…

How can Asia protect its water resources?

Children collect water from a hand pump in an urban slum in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Most slums in India lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services. (Photo: Sukhminder Dosanj/USAID)

Author: Justine Doody, ECFR

Asia’s economic growth has been one of the success stories of the 21st century. But the economic rise of countries such as China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia has created serious pressure on their environmental resources, particularly their water supplies. Read more…

New hope in the New Year for Vietnamese democracy?

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivers a speech during the opening of the sixth session of the 13th National Assembly in Hanoi, Vietnam 21 October, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Huong Le Thu, ISEAS

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung released a New Year’s message on the first day of 2014 to the surprise of the Vietnamese nation.

The message was different from others so far, which were usually released by the Party or head of state and usually for the occasion of Tet (Lunar New Year). But the most important differentiator was the content, which notably raised the issue of innovation in Vietnamese official institutions, including ministries; removing the prevalence of monopolies in the economy, which will be important to achieving market-economy status; and the transition to democracy. Read more…

Vietnam ropes in stakeholders to China territorial dispute


Author: P. K. Ghosh, Observer Research Foundation

Vietnam’s recent granting of seven oil blocks in the South China Sea for exploration by India is part of a plan to internationalise Hanoi’s territorial dispute with China. Hanoi hopes to create more stakeholders who can withstand hegemonistic Chinese ambitions in the area.

Read more…

Shoots of hope for Vietnamese democracy

A fisherman sleeps on his boat in a fishing port in the central coastal city of Da Nang on June 23, 2009, one of the most liveable cities in Vietnam. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hai Hong Nguyen, UQ

Last month, at the Vietnamese legislature’s end-of-year session, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) was reaffirmed in the revised Constitution as the state’s one-party ruler. But social and political conditions are changing in Vietnam; are there any prospects for democratic development in this country of 90 million? Read more…

Time to rethink Vietnam’s socialist principles

Ceramic workers in the Red River Delta (Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbera).

Author: Quang Truong, Maastricht School of Management

There was a time when Vietnam was generally seen as a rising star among the emerging economies and one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment in Asia.

During 1991–2010 the country achieved a steady annual GDP growth rate of 7.7 per cent (second only after China in the region). Read more…

Russia and Vietnam taking it to the next level

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang embrace after the cooperation signing ceremony between Russia and Vietnam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam on 12 November, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Victor Sumsky, MGIMO

Vladimir Putin’s visit to Vietnam earlier this month, his third since assuming the Russian presidency, was accompanied by references to the ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ between both countries. This wording has been adopted since last year, clearly indicating that the two countries are getting closer to each other and intend to cultivate a special bond. Read more…

Defence cooperation underpins Vietnam–Russia push for renewed economic cooperation

Russian President Vladimir Putin, talks with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang as they attend the cooperation signing ceremony between Russia and Vietnam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam on 12 November 2013. Putin said that his country will expand its military supplies to Vietnam, as he held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart to boost ties between the former ideological allies. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Le Hong Hiep, UNSW ADFA and VNU

On 12 November 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to Vietnam. This was his second visit to a country in the Asia Pacific since he regained the presidency in May 2012, and is further evidence of the maturing comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Vietnam’s close relationship with the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, its main successor state, date back to the early decades of the Cold War. Read more…

South Korea–Vietnam FTA will open up East Asian opportunities

South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks to a dinner meeting of businessmen of South Korea and Vietnam in Hanoi on 8 September, 2013. (Photo:AAP)

Author: Jaewan Cheong, KIEP

In the mere 20 years or so since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, economic cooperation between South Korea and Vietnam has deepened significantly. Both countries have pledged to conclude a bilateral FTA by 2014.

Vietnamese participation in the East Asian production network has increased rapidly in the last decade. Read more…

Vietnam’s role in ASEAN

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, China's Premier Li Keqiang, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah during a family photo session for the 16th ASEAN-CHINA Summit on 9 October 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sadhavi Chauhan, Observer Research Foundation

In 1988, a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam adopted a resolution to have ‘more friends and fewer enemies’. So it was not surprising when Vietnam expressed interest in joining ASEAN as early as 1992, or when it did in fact join in July 1995.

Joining ASEAN had crucial social, political, economic and security implications for Vietnam. Read more…

Vietnam’s foreign policy tightrope

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attends the 11th ASEAN Summit as part of the 23rd Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bandar Seri Begawan on 10 October, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Dennis C McCornac, Loyola University Maryland

Vietnam’s new foreign policy approach, which some analysts have labelled ‘more friends, fewer enemies’, reflects its precarious position as a bird on the wire caught between China and the United States. Read more…