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Improving competitiveness: narrowing the gap between policy and implementation

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam’s business environment and competitiveness have continued to move up in international rankings.
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam’s business environment and competitiveness have continued to move up in international rankings.


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Vietnam is ranked 55th out of 137 economies in the World Economic Forum’s latest global competitiveness list, its highest position so far. Just within five years, Vietnam’s grade increased by 20 notches.

WEF said Vietnam has made considerable improvements in readiness for technology and effectiveness of the labor market. 

Trade is also an important factor that helped Vietnam get a promotion in the ranking: it is in the seventh position in terms of import/GDP ratio and 11th in export/GDP.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has jumped from 91st to 82nd out of 190 economies measured in the ease of doing business surveyed by the World Bank. 

Vietnam is ranked 55th out of 137 economies in the World Economic Forum’s latest global competitiveness list, its highest position so far. 

The great efforts to improve the business environment have made the number of newly set up businesses increase to the highest level so far. In the first nine months of the year, 93,967 businesses were registered with total investment capital of VND902.68 trillion, increasing by 15.4 percent in number of businesses and 43.5 percent in capital compared with the same period last year.

The World Bank’s Acting Country Director Sebastian Eckardt commented that Vietnam has made strong institutional reform which will help improve the business environment to attract investors.

However, analysts commented that despite the continuous upgrading, Vietnam is still in the average group of countries in the global competitiveness list and is below four other ASEAN countries, namely Singapore (3rd), Malaysia (23rd), Thailand (32nd) and Indonesia (36th).

To improve its position in WEF’s ranking and attract more investors, the government has been advised to implement more action plans.

Forty-five percent of Vietnamese businesses use lower than average technologies and only 2 percent use high technologies. Meanwhile, advanced technology is the key to upgrade product quality, reduce production costs and improve competitiveness.

The Central Institute of Economic Management’s (CIEM) deputy head Phan Duc Hieu commented that while Vietnam has 0.1 score more in the business development level, it fell by four grades from 96th to 100th.

He also noted that Vietnam’s grade had fallen in four out of 12 major indexes, with the biggest drop in commodity market performance (down by 10 spots). 

"Half of major indexes have not seen improvements and this result is not sustainable," Hieu said.

Local newspapers recently hailed the government’s ‘pro-business action plan’ and MOIT’s (Ministry of Industry and Trade) ‘historic move’ of abolishing 675 business conditions in an aim to simplify administrative procedures. 

However, an analyst commented that while Vietnam is busy with building a legal framework and then destroying it, other countries have made big leaps in their path of development.


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