Last update 12/14/2010 5:46:08 PM (GMT+7)

What should Vietnam do to prosper next to the giant like China

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese leading economists believe that it would be unfeasible to try to escape from the influences from China – and the best thing to do now is to find the way to prosper based on the prosperity of China.

Japanese Nihonkeizai newspaper, when reporting that Vietnam joins the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in order to seek multilateral agreements, commented that no other countryin Southesat Asia has been absorbed into Chinese economy so deeply. In Vietnam, analysts have expressed their worries about the reliance of Vietnam’s economy on the neighbouring China. The question raised by National Assembly’s Deputy Duong Trung Quoc remains open: “What should Vietnam do in order to benefit from the cooperation with China and reduce the reliance on China?”

Leading experts and scientists, including National Assembly’s Deputy Duong Trung Quoc, Dr. Le Dang Doanh, a well known economist, Pham Chi Lan, also a well known economist, Dr. Vu Minh Khuong from Singapore National University, Dang Le Nguyen Vu, Chair of Trung Nguyen Group, and Nguyen Mai Phuong from the US law firm Mayer Brown, have discussed the issue with VietNamNet’s Vietnam Economic Forum.

Reproach yourself first before you reproach others

All Vietnamese people now can feel the heavy reliance of Vietnam’s economy on the neighbouring China. However, it remains unclear how big the reliance is and how serious the latent risks are.

Dr. Le Dang Doanh believes it is necessary to recognize the current reliance, to review our commitments and what we will receive in return.

“It is necessary to review them and make them public,” Doanh stressed. “We always say that we have to take initiative in the global integration, but in fact, we are regularly on the defensive”.

Dang Le Nguyen Vu from Trung Nguyen Group said that to date, Vietnam still has no strategy. However, Vu believes that the current conditions have never been so favourable for Vietnam’s development

“The whole world is supporting Vietnam’s development,” Vu said.

“However, the problem now is whether Vietnam can understand itself and understand others well in order to set up appropriate economic strategies,” he added.

Until the 1990s, Vietnam still had exported to China more than it had imported from the country. However, things have changed over the last decade. While China’s exports have increased sharply, reaching $16 billion, Vietnam’s exports remain modest at nearly five billion dollars.

Vietnam is an agricultural economy, but it is now still importing farm produce from China, including thousands tons of onions and garlic. China-made products have been flooding the domestic market, including the products made in China but labeled as Vietnamese products.

Vietnamese exporters, who do not care about quality, but attracted by the low import prices, have been importing products from China on a massive scale.

“The ignorance and the calculation of Vietnamese enterprises, who would sacrifice everything for profit, have brought benefits to foreigners,” said Duong Trung Quoc, a National Assembly’s Deputy. “Therefore, reproach yourself first before you reproach others”.

Economist Pham Chi Lan said that Vietnam proves to be unselective when openings its doors to foreign investment. “The land in coastal areas has been allocated to foreign investors, 80 percent of whom are investors with Chinese origins,” Lan said.

Local newspapers once quoted Ta Van Huong, Director of the Energy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade as saying that the Chinese have been chosen as the EPC contractors in 80 percent of coal-run thermopower plant projects.

Nguyen Mai Phuong from Mayer Brown law firm said that with the current bidding laws, the contractors from the US, UK and Japan don’t have the opportunities to win, because their equipments are good and so offer higher prices.

Vietnam should develop based on China’s prosperity

Dr. Nguyen Quang A believes that it would be “utopian” thinking to try to escape from the influences from China, and a wiser approach is necessary.

According to Dri Vu Minh Khuong, Vietnam should think of trying to develop together with China, and not to escape from its influences. “Vietnam-China prosper together” will be a better motto. “We cannot avoid China.there is a saying “to jump out of the frying pan into the fire”.

Khuong believes that Vietnam should set up an agency for cooperation for development with China

It is undeniable that China, the neighbour of Vietnam, has been risingrapidly, and Vietnam should take full advantage of Chinese strong development to create an impetus for its own development

Lan Huong