Top 10 key events that defined Vietnam in 2017

Created 08 January 2018
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Below are the ten major events that shaped the year.

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1. Successful APEC both in content and organization

Top 10 key events that defined Vietnam in 2017, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news

Vietnam welcomed some 21,000 delegates to attend Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conferences held around the country and then 11,000 delegates during the APEC Summit Week in Da Nang during November, including senior leaders and officials as well as regional and international businesses.

As APEC Chairman last year, Vietnam successfully garnered mutual understanding from member economies with the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering A Shared Future”, with four well-supported priorities: promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs)’ competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.

Vietnam’s greatest success was maintaining APEC’s goals in the context of a complex world with different trends in economic issues, trade, investment, and new economic sectors.

During the APEC Week, Vietnam hosted four high-level visits from China, the US, Chile, and Canada, while holding 50 meetings of senior leaders. These affirmed Vietnam’s profile and strengthened relations with major partners. The signing of 121 deals worth more than $20 billion was also indeed a great moment for Vietnamese businesses.

2. Private sector: A driving force of growth

After more than 30 years of innovation, Vietnam’s private sector was identified for the first time as an important engine of the country’s socialist-oriented market economy. The guiding principle in the Resolution 10-NQ/TW  of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, which was issued on June 3, 2017, affirmed that developing a healthy private economy under market mechanisms is an objective requirement, both urgent and long term, during the process of the institutional improvement and development of the socialist-oriented market economy. It also acts as an important means to boost productivity and mobilize, allocate, and effectively use development resources.

3. New turning point in corruption fight

The Communist Party of Vietnam enforced discipline on an unprecedented scope on a wide range of cadres from the central to local levels, creating a new turning point in the fight against corruption. The frequency and extent of the fight has become fiercer and much more intensive than in previous years.

The highlight of such efforts came in December, when the Hanoi People’s Court decided to bring former Ho Chi Minh City Party Chief Dinh La Thang and 21 others to trial on January 8, in a multi-million-dollar case at the PetroVietnam Construction Corp. (PVC). This made it perfectly clear that no one is immune in the country’s fight against corruption, as Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong said.

A number of senior officials were also disciplined in others matters, such as Nguyen Xuan Anh, Secretary of the Da Nang Party Committee, Vu Huy Hoang, former Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Minh Quang, former Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Ho Thi Kim Thoa, former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Pham Van Vong, former Secretary of the Vinh Phuc Provincial Party Committee, Phung Quang Hung, former Chairman of the Vinh Phuc People’s Committee, Pham The Dung, former Chairman of the Gia Lai People’s Committee, and Nguyen Van Thien, former Secretary of the Binh Dinh Party Committee.

4. GDP growth hits 6.81%, surpassing targets

For the first time in many years, Vietnam exceeded all 13 socioeconomic targets set by the National Assembly (NA), with GDP growing 6.81 per cent, surpassing the 6.7 per cent target and marking the highest growth in recent times.

Notably, GDP growth was consistent throughout the four quarters, revealing the effectiveness of the government’s approach and methods. The macroeconomy was stable, with inflation under control, exports increased sharply, and the trade surplus hit $2.7 billion. The industrial sector recovered significantly, becoming an important engine of economic growth.

A spirit of innovation, reflected in startups opening, was apparent throughout the year. Newly-established enterprises reached a record 126,850, with new and additional capital totaling over VND3,160 trillion ($139.35 billion), while 26,450 enterprises returned to operations after a period of suspension.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is becoming increasingly important through the development and enhancement of value-added localization rates, creating jobs and contributing to the State budget. Total registered FDI capital rose to a record high in 2017 of $35.88 billion, with $17.5 billion disbursed; the highest in the last 30 years.

5. Trade turnover reaches $424.87 billion

As at end-2017, Vietnam’s import-export turnover had set a record of $424.87 billion. Total trade turnover was only some $30 billion in 2001, and in 2007, when Vietnam joined the WTO, was just $100 billion.

Four years on, trade turnover had doubled in 2011, to $200 billion, then hit $300 billion in 2015. In 2017, total trade turnover reached $424.87 billion, of which export turnover from FDI enterprises was $265.85 billion, up 23.2 per cent year-on-year and accounting for 65.6 per cent of Vietnam’s total export turnover.

6. FDI capital inflows highest in 9 years

Together with newly-registered FDI capital reaching $29.69 billion, the $6.19 billion in capital contribution and share purchase by the FDI sector in 2017 brought total FDI inflows to $35.88 billion; the highest level in nine years.

The spectacular rise of foreign capital inflows last year was primarily the result of a series of billion-dollar projects, including three build-operate-transfer (BOT) power plants: the $2.79 billion Nghi Son 2 Thermo Power Plant, the $2.58 billion Van Phong 1 Thermo Power Plant, and the $2.07 billion Nam Dinh 1 Thermo Power Plant.

Other major projects included the additional investment of $2.5 billion by Samsung Electronics’ display panel subsidiary to boost capacity at its plant in the northern province of Bac Ninh, and PetroVietnam Gas Corp. (PV Gas) and its two foreign partners’ investment of $1.27 billion in the Block B- O Mon gas pipeline project in the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang province.

7. VN-Index surges

With the VN-Index closing at 970 points on December 4, up 46 per cent since end-2016, Vietnam’s stock market officially regained all the losses from the 2007 global financial crisis. As at the end of 2017, market capitalization was VND3,360 trillion ($148.2 billion), equal to 74.6 per cent of GDP.

Foreign investors net bought nearly $1.85 billion in shares during the year, compared to net selling VND6.8 billion ($300 million) in 2016. As at the end of December, the total portfolio value of foreign investors stood at more than $32.5 billion, up 60 per cent year-on-year.

On December 18, nearly 343 million State-owned shares in the Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. (Sabeco), or 53.59 per cent of total shares, were purchased by two investors, in which Thai Beverage’s Vietnam Beverage paid nearly VND110 trillion ($4.85 billion).

Previously, a 3.33 per cent stake in the Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk) was successfully auctioned, with a Singaporean corporation outlaying VND9 trillion ($397 million) to buy the entire offering.

The two successful auctions deliver a message: Foreign investors are eagerly awaiting State equity withdrawals at many large enterprises in 2018, with names including MobiFone, PV Oil, PV Power, the Vietnam National Tobacco Corporation (Vinataba), and the Binh Son Refining & Petrochemical Co. (BSR).

8. Vietnam welcomes 12.9 million international tourists

Having welcomed 12.9 million international tourists and hosted 73.2 million domestic tourists in 2017, revenue from tourism was estimated at VND510 trillion ($22.5 billion), contributing positively to the country’s economic growth.

Vietnam’s tourism industry was globally recognized in 2017, with the country ranking seventh among the world’s Top 20 fastest-growing destinations by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Other notable achievements included the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort being named “World’s Leading Luxury Resort” for the third consecutive year, JW Marriot Resort Phu Quoc Emerald Bay being named “World’s Best New Resort”, and Vietravel being named “World’s Leading Group Tour Operator”, while Vietnam Airlines was voted “World’s Leading Cultural Airline” and “World’s Leading Airline - Premium Economy Class”.

9. Storm Damrey kills 107 people, causes economic losses of $970 million

Storm Damrey, the strongest storm to hit Vietnam in many years, made landfall on the south-central coast late in the year, leaving 107 people dead, 16 unaccounted for, 342 injured, and 165,000 houses damaged. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimated that the storm caused economic losses of about VND22 trillion ($970 billion).

Vietnam was hit by 16 storms during the year, with severe human and material losses, including 375 dead and missing, 636 injured, and nearly VND51.6 trillion ($2.23 billion) in economic losses.

10. Some BOT transport projects become hot button issues

In 2017, shortcomings at some BOT transport projects attracted public attention, despite the fact that the policy of developing transport infrastructure in the BOT form is the right move to take and that many BOT projects have contributed to improving transport infrastructure and developing the economy in certain localities. At some BOT toll booths, many drivers and local residents objected to paying fees, causing traffic jams and forcing investors to allow vehicles to pass through without paying. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged responsible agencies to strictly address the problems and legal violations while revising inappropriate procedures.


Source: VN Economic Times - Bridge

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