There’s a refreshing sense of optimism about the future in Vietnam at the moment, which is a nice change from the concern about secular stagnation gripping so many other parts of the world.
Twenty five years ago the US removed its trade embargo on Vietnam and, along with the economic reforms of the 1980s, this marked the beginning of what has led to today’s state of growth.
Growth has been strong over the last few years alongside FDI and export growth. There are some short term worries, however, the trade war among them.
Additionally, there are concerns that if Vietnam’s growth profile is ‘noticed’ by the US - particularly around trade balance outperformance - it could find itself subject to tariff activity. All Vietnam can really do is wait and see what happens.
More structurally there are some important economic issues which will require action if conditions are to be sustained.
Strategically, Vietnam’s ongoing success will require a conscious policy focus on important issues such as the availability of power.
It’s almost as if you can't have a discussion in Vietnam without power coming up - not power prices, per say, but the availability of power and the ability of the system to cope with the increases in demand.
Added to increasing environmental considerations around power, this is one issue which will require substantial focus.