Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam reaffirmed the country’s reform efforts to spur growth in the years to come at the recent 2014 Forbes Vietnam Business Forum in Ho Chi Minh City.
Addressing the forum, he added that Vietnam faced serious challenges to achieving the government’s ambition to see the economy expand by 8-9 per cent over the next 20 years.
“However, challenges also mean opportunities,” he told the event, themed Vietnam – Fresh Opportunities.
“These ambitions are aimed at enabling Vietnam to keep up with other countries. If we continue to grow at 5-6 per cent as we have done in recent years, we will lag behind. Therefore, we need considerable reforms, from both the government and business community,” he said.
Dam noted three main challenges – further developing the market economy with a focus on creating equal access to the country’s resources for all economic sectors; developing the country’s infrastructure; and developing human resources.
“Building a rule-of-law state in Vietnam is necessary for overall development,” the deputy prime minister reiterated. He pointed out Vietnam’s ambitions to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and sign the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
The EU-Vietnam FTA is expected to be signed late this year, said top Vietnamese economist Le Dang Doanh.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes, told the July 3 forum, “Challenges exist anywhere around the world. Therefore, a good company has to maintain creativity, adapt to volatile changes in the business environment.”
Experts and participants at the event said that many companies in Vietnam are struggling to restructure their businesses and having trouble raising funds, but that some have been successful in finding new strategic partners and investors through mergers and acquisitions or issuing corporate bonds.
Leaders of Vietnamese companies that have strengthened their businesses through consolidation shared their success stories. They said the most important factors were focusing on their core strengths, renovating their management structures, investing in new areas such as agriculture, education, healthcare, and venturing into international markets.