THE COUNCIL AND VIETNAM
The Council leads annual business missions to Hanoi. The Council’s on the ground presence and long relationships in Vietnam help to create a mission experience where Council delegates can meet with the top leadership of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for candid discussion focused on solving problems and creating new business opportunities.
VIETNAM IN THE UNITED STATES
The Council regularly hosts Vietnamese officials in the United States. The Council has organized events for the Prime Minister, President, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, Members of the National Assembly, and Vietnam’s government delegations. These events are not just limited to Washington; the Council has hosted events in New York, Houston, San Francisco, and other cities in the US — wherever the officials’ travel may take them and wherever Council members have a presence.
A PERMANENT PRESENCE IN HANOI
Vu Tu Thanh opened the Council’s office in Hanoi in November 2007. He has arranged for multiple consultations between Council members and Vietnam’s officials and visiting US Government officials. Thanh also advises individual member companies on strategic issues and helps them navigate the system in Vietnam, keeping them well informed of and updated on important new developments.
SUCCESS STORIES IN VIETNAM
The Council was instrumental in working with the Vietnamese Government to achieve important milestones in the US-Vietnam relationship, such as the bilateral trade agreement (2001), permanent normal trade relations for Vietnam (2006) and Vietnam’s accession to the WTO (2007).
Vietnam is a country with rich natural resources and a well educated, literate population of over 85.2 million. Since achieving independence from French colonial rule, Vietnam has had conflicts with the United States, China, and Cambodia, but since 1986 the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam has committed itself to economic reform, or “Doi Moi” (New Changes). The new policy drove a move from a centrally planned economy to a multi-sectoral one based on open market principles, thus opening the door to foreign investment.
“Doi Moi” has ushered in over two decades of significant progress, both economically and politically. Through the 1990s, Vietnam opened relations with the West, particularly with the United States, with formalized normalized diplomatic relations in 1995 and normalized economic relations with the passage of the Bilateral Trade Agreement in 2001. Even more importantly, in January 2007, Vietnam gained Permanent Normalized Trade Relations with the United States.
In addition to its active engagement with the United States, Vietnam has also emerged onto the world stage with its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January 2007 and by taking a seat on the United Nations Security Council in January 2008.
Domestically, Vietnam is currently in the process of restructuring its institutions and legal system to meets its new obligations under the WTO and PNTR. To this effect, it has passed a series of criminal and civil laws that include both investment and enterprise laws and decrees that look to bring it towards a market economy. This has included the abolishment of price control, the legalization of private ownership, a more dynamic private sector, and the active equitization of the state owned enterprises. It actively encourages greater amounts of foreign investment across key industries, notably those dealing with large infrastructure and energy and is instituting new fiscal and monetary policies.
Vietnam enters a time period of continued high economic growth following consecutive years of high GDP growth (average 7.8% from 2004-2008). Vietnam’s growth rate did not suffer much from the financial crisis, and the upward trajectory looks to continue into the future as a committed leadership looks to lead Vietnam towards its goal of becoming an industrialized nation by 2020 while tackling challenges from oversized bureaucracy and corruption.