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10 socio-economic events in 2019 – Vietnam

Trường Lăng

January 21, 2020

With a GDP growth of 7.02%, Vietnam’s new position stands tall in the international arena. Here are the top 10 events that shaped Vietnam in 2019.

1. GDP growth of 7.02%

GDP impressive growth in the year of 2019 is 7.02% despite the declination of the world economy. This is the second consecutive year that GDP growth has exceeded 7% since 2011.
However, one thing which is more significant than the figure of 7.02% is that despite of high growth, Vietnam can maintain macroeconomic stability by keeping inflation low, public debt reduced, import and export turnover exceeding USD 500 billion, newly established businesses at a record rate, constantly improved business environment…
In particular, the size of the economy with continuously improved quality such as the rate of contribution of total factor productivity (TFP) to GDP growth gaining 46.11%, the average in the period 2016-2019 gained 44,46%, the incremental capital – output ratio (ICOR) decreased from 6.42 in 2016 to 6.07 in 2019.
In order to continue growing in 2020 as well as moving on the right track “to the destination” of the period of 2016-2020, the Government, ministries, branches and localities should untie the knots and maximize their resources for economic development, focus on 6 motivational groups accounted for foundations for economic growth in 2020 and the following years.
That is to perfect economic institutions, improve the investment capital efficiency of the economy, improve labor productivity, strengthen the ability to meet domestic production and consumption demands, and improve the competitiveness of the economy and ultimately urbanize to create momentum for economic growth.

2. Vietnam’s new position in the international arena

Vietnam received support far beyond the minimum rate of 192/193 votes, and was officially elected to the position of standing commissioner of the United Nations Security Council for the office term 2020-2021.
This is a great honor, affirming the right foreign affair policy of the Party and the State, but it is also a very heavy responsibility that requires Vietnam to make great efforts to fulfill the responsibility entrusted by the international community. Thereby, the role, position and prestige of Vietnam are increasingly enhanced in the international arena.
Earlier this year, Vietnam became the focus of the world when Vietnam was selected by the United States of America and North Korea as the venue for the Second US-Korea Summit. Although no common statement was made in the Summit, Vietnam was considered to be successful in the role of host country.
The spirit of neutral diplomacy, love for peace, hospitality and good organization skill has made Vietnam become the one trusted by international friends. Successful organization of the Summit has contributed practically to the implementation of Vietnam’s foreign affair policy, created a momentum for Vietnam to well assume the responsibility of ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020.

3. Import-export turnover gained over 500 billion USD

In 2019, Vietnam’s import and export set a “new record” with a turnover of USD 516.96 billion, up 7.6% compared to 2018. Of which, export gained USD 263.45 billion, up 8.1% and import gained USD 253.5 billion, up 7% compared to 2018.
Thus, the fourth consecutive year, Vietnam continued to gain the super export turnover of USD 9.94 billion, far exceeding the record of USD 7.2 billion set in 2018. This is an important achievement of Vietnam economy.
Notably, USD 516.96 billion of import and export turnover has helped Vietnam fall in the top 30 countries with good import and export growth in the world. In terms of exports only, Vietnam has become the 22nd largest export economy in the world.
This result becomes more significant in the context of the world economy in 2019 growing slowly with increasing risk and challenge factors. Global trade also declined, export of countries in the region and the world are down compared to the same period in 2018.
Moreover, the export result in 2019 also shows the determination of the Government and efforts of ministries and branches to strongly improve the business investment environment; forms progress in administrative reform, simplify investment procedures, support start-up businesses, reform export and import fields, promote production and create more sources of goods for export.
It is forecast in 2020, export will face difficulties and challenges, but this is also an opportunity for export to continue to break through, create new “milestones”. 4.

4. Outstanding achievements at Seagames 30

With 288 medals of all kinds, including 98 Gold medals, 85 Silver medals and 105 Bronze medals, Vietnamese sports team won the second prize at the SEA Games 30. This position can be considered as the top of Southeast Asia, as the first position is naturally given to the host country.
After many years of waiting, Vietnamese football has just reached the Southeast Asian Gold Medal. The football team led by Coach Park Hang Seo won the throne very convincingly, especially 2 big victories in 2 semi-finals and final, with 4-0 (before Cambodia) and 3-0 (before Indonesia), showing our superiority over the rest of the tournament.
And women’s football successfully defended the second prize of SEA Games and Southeast Asia. In two consecutive tournaments for a few months, The Football team of Coach Mai Duc Chung became stars, after beating Thailand in the final, with a goal scored in extra time. The first is a 1-0 victory in the final of the Southeast Asian Women’s Football Championship in August, right on Thai territory, followed by the victory upon fighting for SEA Games Gold Medal which was took place in the Philippines.
The termination of SEA Games 30 has carved “Vietnam spirit” in sport. Vietnamese Sport also officially received the flag to host SEA Games 31, taken place two years later.

5. Anti-corruption going on promotion

Since the beginning of the Party Congress, hundreds of senior cadres, especially including more than 70 officials and members of the Politburo, the Secretariat, nearly 30 military generals and policemen are subject to party discipline and criminal prosecution.
The inspecting and auditing agency proposes for recovering and handling VND 61,392 billion and 142 hectares of land; administrative disciplinary recommendations against 692 collective and many individuals; transferred investigating agencies to handle 46 cases, 73 subjects. The Government inspectors focused on inspecting and issuing conclusions on inspecting projects and cases according to the Steering Committee’s schedule.
In the year of 2019, eight major cases were brought to trial, including some typical cases, such as “deliberately contravening the State’s regulations on economic management causing serious consequences; irresponsibility causing consequences “serious” occurred at Vietnam Social Insurance; the case of “violating regulations on management and use of state assets causing loss and waste” occurred at Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco) …
Public opinion has paid special attention to the case of “accepting bribes, giving bribes, violating regulations on management and use of public investment, causing serious consequences” resulting in accident referred to as the case of MobiFone Telecommunications Corporation acquired AVG.
The case involved two former ministers with the violation amount up to VND 8,900 billion in violations and one former minister was sentenced to life imprisonment. The case shows the strictness of the law as well as the determination of the entire political system in the fight against corruption.

6. Struggling to protect the sovereignty of sea and islands

Year of 2019 is the year that Vietnam’s sovereignty on the South China Sea faces many challenges. China’s continuous taking their ships and drilling platforms into Vietnam’s territorial waters and continents infringed Vietnam’s sovereignty, and violated the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
With the fighting way through the diplomatic path, on the rule of resolving but maintaining peace on both diplomatic, public and legal fronts, Vietnam has strongly condemned international illegal acts.
In particular, diplomacy has become a sharp tool for the world to understand Vietnam, to share Vietnam’s values ​​and perspectives. Thence, we have received active support from the international community, increased our opportunities to ensure independent foreign affair policy, maintain national sovereignty and interests.
On the international level, many countries such as USA, Japan, India … also express their concerns and criticize the acts of destabilizing regional security. In particular, the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM 52) held in Thailand at the end of July 2019 reserved a part to talk about the situation of the East Sea in the Common Statement.

7. Opening the National Public Service Portal

On December 09th, 2019, the Government launched the National Public Service Portal, marked an important milestone in Vietnam’s administrative reform. The national public service portal will come into operation and will be an important tool to effectively support Vietnam’s e-government development process, to aim to better serve the people and businesses, to promote the socio-economic development of the country.
With the motto of “taking people and businesses as service centers”, leaving no one behind in the reform process, the National Public Service Portal is the focal point to help related information about administrative procedures to be public and transparent and provide, support the implementation of public services on demand, suitable to each object.
The national public service portal uses the satisfaction of the people and businesses as a measure of the quality and efficiency of service from officials, public servants and authorities in the provision of public services and meets the goals and requirements for administrative reform, especially cutting administrative procedures through the application of information technology.
Before, the National Link for National Documents was officially opened. This is a strong breakthrough in paper thinking, as the premise of the data integration platform used for building e-government, aiming at digital government and digital economy.

8. Movement of foreign capital via M&A deals

In the year of 2019, foreign investment flowing into Vietnam tends to new shifting. Notably, the investment form of merger and acquisition (M & A) increasingly accounts for a large proportion and is growing rapidly.
The Foreign Investment Agency (Ministry of Planning and Investment) said that as of December 20th, 2019, total subscribed capital for new financing, adjusted and contributed capital to buy shares of foreign investors gained USD 38.02 billion, up 7.2% over the same period in 2018. In 2019, foreign direct investment projects were estimated to disburse USD 20.38 billion, up 6.7% as compared to the same period in 2018.
According to the report, up to December 20th, there are 9,842 times of capital contribution and share purchase by foreign investors, with a total value of contributed capital of USD 15.47 billion, up 56.4% over the same period in 2018 and account for 40.7% of total subscribed capital.
Notably, investment in the form of equity capital contribution has tended to increase sharply in recent years and accounts for an increasing ratio of total foreign investment capital, specifically: investment in the form of capital contribution, share purchase accounted for 17.02% of total subscribed capital in 2017, accounted for 27.78% in 2018, accounted for 40.7% of total subscribed capital up to December 20th, 2019.

9. Signing EVFTA Free Trade Agreement

On June 30th, Free Trade Agreement and EU- Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVFTA and IPA) were officially signed in Hanoi after a nine-year journey of negotiation. This is considered a historical event of the relationship between Vietnam and EU and brings the great benefits to companies, consumers and workers in EU and Vietnam.
To come to the successful conclusion of this agreement, Vietnam had to go through a very long process, negotiations have been agreed to start from 2010 and the parties have officially negotiated many levels, many rounds from 2012 until now.
Until December 2015, the two sides ended negotiations and started the process of legal review to prepare for the conclusion of the Agreement. However, in September 2017, EU asked Vietnam to separate EVFTA into two separate agreements, which are EVFTA and IPA.
By June 2018, EVFTA was officially separated into two agreements and the entire legal review process of EVFTA finished, and the contents of IPA were consented. After only 3 months, on October 17th, 2018, European Commission officially approved EVFTA and IPA.
These agreements will give Vietnam great opportunities to strengthen market accessibility into major export markets. These opportunities consist of reduction of taxes, other issues such as public procurement, intellectual property rights, investment dispute resolution and state-owned enterprise management as well as tending to the next wave of reforms. It is expected that the agreement will come into effect by 2020.

10. African swine fever and its effects on agricultural production

In 2019, African swine fever infected and spread across the country, causing serious damage to the livestock industry. Right before and when the African swine fever (hog cholera) intruded into our country, the Party Central Committee, the Government, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development paid special attention and directed very specific solutions to prevent and control the epidemic.
The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister chaired and directed at 5 conferences on prevention and control of African swine fever and personally came to the facilities to inspect and direct the prevention and control organization of African swine fever. At the same time, the Government has financed more than VND 5,000 billion to support prevention and control of the epidemic.
However, African swine fever still causes serious damage. Accumulated from the first outbreak of African swine fever in February 2019 to the end of the year, African swine fever outbreak occurred in 8,526 communes of 667 districts within 63 provinces and cities with total destroyed pigs up to nearly 6 million pigs; total weight of destroyed pigs is about 343 thousand tons, direct damage is estimated up to VND 7,000 billion.
The damage caused by African swine fever has reduced about 1.1% of the growth of the entire agriculture, forestry and fishery sector in 2019, resulting the industry’s GDP growth down to only 2.2%. If this epidemic did not occurs, GDP growth of agriculture and rural development can reach 3.3%.
 

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