Chairman of the Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh speaks at the Vietnam Economic Forum 2017 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission and the Australian Embassy held the Vietnam Economic Forum 2017 in Hanoi on June 27 under the theme “Unleashing the potential for sustainable economic growth”.

Chairman of the Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh said Vietnam has made great strides in economic growth since the Doi moi (reform) process began in 1986. It has recorded an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent since 2000, and reduced the poverty rate to under 3 percent from about 50 percent in the early 90s.

Up to 65 percent of Vietnam’s exports are products of the manufacturing and processing industries, but a majority of them are made by the FDI sector. Domestic enterprises mainly export such goods as textile-apparel, leather-footwear and agricultural products with modest added value. 

“That means an important contribution to Vietnam’s current growth rate comes from external resources, instead of the economy’s internal strength,” he noted.

Binh stressed that it’s high time to review the sustainability of the comparative advantages that Vietnam has usually mentioned such as an abundant and low-cost workforce while the golden population structure is forecast to exist for only another 10 years and the competition from other countries with lower production costs is increasing.

Briefing about the six-month economic situation, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong said the macro-economy remained stable with controlled inflation and the six-month average consumer price index rising about 4.2 percent year on year.

The GDP growth rate in the year’s first half could reach 5.5 – 5.7 percent, approximating the rate targeted by the Government, he noted, adding that the Government’s resolve to attain a growth rate of 6.7 percent this year is completely sound and reasonable.

“Although this task is very difficult, it is realisable if we are determined to implement all the set solutions,” Dong said, adding that once overcoming the difficulties and achieving the target, there will be a driving force and confidence to realise bigger aspirations in the long term.

A representative of the World Bank (WB) in Vietnam said Vietnam’s economy is stable while inflation is under control and the business climate and exchange rate remain steady. The country has also recorded credit and export growth, improved balance of payments and good liquidity.

The WB predicted Vietnam’s economic growth rate at some 6.3 percent in 2017, suggesting the country focus on carrying out trade supporting measures and free trade agreements to create better growth momentum.

At the forum, participants pointed out bottlenecks in the economy and proposed medium- and long-term solutions. They discussed the position of Vietnam’s economy in the global economic competition and the country’s untapped internal resources and economic restructuring.

The event saw the presence of Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick, representatives of central and local agencies, international organisations, businesses and research institutes, along with domestic and foreign experts.-VNA