A view of Nhat Tan Bridge in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s economic changes since its first hosting of the APEC Year in 2006 were the main content of an article written by Edmund Sim, which was recently published on The Diplomat magazine.

According to Edmund Sim, an expert specialising in international trade and ASEAN law and policy, the APEC 2006 summit in Hanoi was “Vietnam’s coming-out party, its debut on the world economic stage”.

Improved ties boosted trade, foreign investment, and economic growth, he wrote.

He cited the World Bank’s statistics that Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) more than doubled from 25 billion USD in 1996 to 66 billion USD in 2006. Gross national income (GNI) per capita improved from 310 USD in 1996 to 760 USD in 2006. However, net annual inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) remained at or below 2.4 billion USD during this period.

Since 2006, the Vietnamese Government has paid more attention to regional and international integration. The country’s economy has enjoyed positive changes thanks to its investment attraction policies as well as bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements.

Strengthened economic integration has helped Vietnam diversify its export markets, he wrote, citing the United Nations’ statistics that Vietnam’s trade surplus reached 162 billion USD in 2015.

Last year, Vietnam’s GDP hit 203 billion USD, a threefold increase compared with 2006. Meanwhile, FDI rose four times to 11.8 billion USD in 2015, according to the WB.

However, he also noted that Vietnam is facing a lot of difficulties and challenges in the context of arising protectionism and tariff barriers in several countries.

Vietnam is hosting the APEC Year 2017. The APEC 2017 Economic Leaders’ Meeting, which takes place in Da Nang city from November 10-11, is the most important external event of Vietnam this year, with the participation of leaders from the 21 member economies.-VNA