Twenty six countries have recognized Vietnam’s full market economy since the Southeast Asian country joined WTO in early 2007, according to Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.
Speaking at a conference held in Hanoi December 24 reviewing Vietnam’s integration into the global economy between 2008-2009 Minister Hoang said that 22 of them have issued official documents for the recognition.
Reviewing exports over the past two years, Minister Hoang said Vietnam exported a combined US$150 billion, representing 160% of the country’s GDP.
Despite the global economic downturn, Vietnam sees its key exports to grow 20% in volume, The Minister said.
Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem who doubles chairman of the National Committee on International Economic Cooperation said that Vietnam has signed 90 bilateral agreements and nearly 60 investment encouragement and protection pacts, 54 double tax avoidance deals with other countries and international organizations over the past years of international economic integration.
Nguyen Cam Tu, general secretary of the National Committee for International Economic Cooperation noted that competitiveness of the whole economy remains low, compared to regional countries.
The government governance has been improving significantly with its timely and resolute measures to tame inflation and boost economic recovery at a critical time, General SecretaryTu assessed, adding to improve shortcomings of infrastructure systems, manpower and institutions Vietnam should seek bilateral, regional and global cooperation.
The agricultural industry is less affected by the country’s economic integration as forecast, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bui Ba Bong said.
Exports of farm produce hit US$15 billion this year despite the global economic downturn, down from US$16 billion last year, Mr.Bong added.
However, The deputy minister urged the local agricultural sector to improve the quality of products rather than the current focus on cheap labor forces and ecological factors.
The country’s trade deficit widened to US$17.516 billion last year, which is forecast to narrow to US$11.5 billion to US$12.5 billion this year, government agencies said.
Vietnam’s GDP growth is estimated to grow 5.2% this year, down from 6.5% last year, state media reported.