Viet Nam - an example of using trade to accelerate economic development

Friday, May 19, 2023 19:19

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (centre) meets with teachers and students of the Foreign Trade University on May 18. — Photo courtesy of the FTU

World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala praised Viet Nam as an example of using trade to accelerate economic development and expand opportunities for people during her visit to the Foreign Trade University (FTU) on Thursday.

“Since the start of the Doi Moi process in the mid-1980s, Viet Nam has sustained one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. By successfully tapping into external demand, Viet Nam substantially turbocharged poverty reduction,” said Iweala.

According to Our World in Data, the rate of the population living in extreme poverty in Viet Nam (living below US$2.15 per day) was dramatically reduced from 45.1 per cent in 1992 to 1.23 per cent in 2018.

The WTO Director-General also shared about current issues related to the multilateral trading system in the context of globalisation as well as the implementation of Viet Nam's trade policies in the context of increasingly deep integration into the global economy.

“Foreign direct investment and integration into global value chains continue to be a driving force behind Viet Nam's trade performance. The resulting expertise, learning-by-doing, and capital have helped the country increase production and export capacities. Viet Nam has been improving its business environment with measures aimed at levelling the playing field across State-owned enterprises, domestic and foreign operators,” said the WTO Director-General.

As more businesses seek to diversify and deconcentrate production networks to better manage climate, economic, and geopolitical risks, Viet Nam has attracted investment. The country's participation in global value chains grew by an annual average of 14.3 per cent through the 2010s. Nominal merchandise trade (exports and imports) grew from $111.3 billion in 2007 to $730.2 billion in 2022. GDP per capita more than quadrupled from $843 in 2007 to $4,086.5 in 2022.

Together with Viet Nam's impressive public health response to COVID-19, international integration helped the country weather the pandemic relatively well. Growth remained positive, at 2.9 per cent in 2020 and 2.6 per cent in 2021, before rebounding to 8 per cent in 2022.

The WTO Director-General also praised the efforts and contributions of the FTU’s teachers and students in using global trade to drive growth and development, especially when the FTU was selected as part of the WTO Chairs Programme.

“FTU's courses for government officials and enterprises on issues such as trade preferences, navigating technical barriers to trade and competition make a practical difference for Viet Nam's engagement in trade policy fora and in international markets,” added Iweala.

Speaking at the meeting, FTU President Bui Anh Tuan said that FTU was recognised as the leading university in Viet Nam in its fields of education, especially in international trade.

“As FTU is one of the 17 new Chairs in the WTO Chairs Programme Phase III, we highly value our partnership and relationship with the WTO Chairs Programme, which has allowed us to enhance our academic programmes and broaden our research capabilities. We are grateful for the support and collaboration of the WTO Chairs Programme, and we remain committed to continuing to strengthen our relationship. Together, we can build a better future for our communities,” said Tuan.

Participants also focused discussion on various topics, such as the impact of re-globalisation on global supply chains; how the WTO can support the resilience of Vietnamese supply chains in the fishery, textile and agriculture sectors; and regulations in new-generation FTAs and their impact on countries, especially developing countries. — VNS

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