Economic reforms important for Viet Nam: Blair

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 11:16

A worker installs machinery. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has urged Viet Nam to accelerate economic reforms to take advantage of global opportunities. — Photo

The Chinese economy has slowed down, making a big impact everywhere, including commodity markets across the world, Blair said during a roundtable in Ha Noi.

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In Europe, the single currency crisis has not been fully resolved and the economies are growing very slowly with high levels of unemployment and significant political risks.

Ever since the financial crisis began in 2008, there has been a lack of confidence in the west about whether economic policies are working. In the United States and Europe, interest rates are staying at historic lows, for a historically long period of time.

"Further slowdown and increasing financial volatility are posing critical questions for policymakers across the world, particularly for those in developing economies, including Viet Nam," Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son said.

"There is no clarity about what will happen in the future," Blair said.

"There are things in the global economy that you cannot change but you have to deal with," he, however, said.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair shares his experience related to economic reforms at a roundtable in Ha Noi on October 19. — VNS Video Ngoc Duy

Blair said Viet Nam has taken "very important steps" in the last few years, adding that the recent conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will offer huge opportunities for the country.

He noted that Viet Nam's trade relationship with China is close, and the US$18-trillion European market is potential for Viet Nam's future access.

Blair said Viet Nam is becoming more open as a trading nation, but as there are countries competing for capital, business and trade, it has to change to stay competitive.

"This is why economic reforms inside Viet Nam are so important. The more competitive the Vietnamese economy becomes, the better able the country is to deal with the problems of the global economy, and the better able it is to take advantage of the trade agreements that you are signing," he said.

He emphasised the importance of reforms related to State-owned enterprises, public-private partnerships and the ability to attract foreign direct investment, while stressing the need to accelerate education and skills in Viet Nam.

Blair suggested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should note a trend in the developed world today, that foreign affairs departments are focussing a lot more on economic diplomacy, not just the tradition political diplomacy.

At the roundtable, Central Institute for Economic Management Deputy Director Vo Tri Thanh was interested in how to reduce the costs of reforms, while National Financial Supervisory Committee Vice Chairman Truong Van Phuoc expressed interest about making the financial market more open to the world. — VNS

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