Country Focus Data: Vietnam

by Melissa Alexander
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Capital: Hanoi.

Demography: Population 79.9 million, 1.45% growth rate (2001 estimates); Vietnamese language; Buddhist, Christian, indigenous religions.

Geography: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea; tropical in south, monsoonal in north; low, flat deltas, central highlands, mountainous in far north, northwest.

Government: Communist state. Chief of State is President Tran Duc Luong, head of government is Prime Minister Phan Van Khai.

Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development under Minister Le Huy Ngo.

Economy: Vietnamese authorities have moved slowly in implementing structural reforms needed to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The 1997 Asian financial crisis highlighted problems existing in the Vietnamese economy but, rather than prompting reform, the crisis reaffirmed the government’s belief that shifting to a market orientation leads to disaster. Gross domestic product growth of 8.5% in 1997 fell to 6% in 1998 and 5% in 1999 before stabilizing around 5.5% in 2000. Many domestic industries, including coal, cement, steel and paper, find tough competition from more efficient foreign producers.

Agriculture accounts for about 26% of G.D.P. and employs 70% of the workforce, although this proportion is decreasing.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$1,950 (purchasing power parity), 5.5% growth rate, -0.6% inflation, 25% unemployment (2000 estimates).

Currency: Vietnam dong. May 14, 2002, exchange rate: 15,157 dong per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$14.3 billion (f.o.b., 2000), rice, coffee, tea, rubber.

Imports: U.S.$15.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000), machinery and equipment, fertilizer, petroleum products, grain.

Major crops/agricultural products: Rice, maize, cassava, pork, coffee, tea.

Wheat: Vietnam produces no wheat. Five-year annual consumption (1997-2001) averaged 624,000 tonnes in a range of 550,000 in 1999 to a record 700,000 in 2001.

Rice: Five-year annual production (milled) averaged 20.2 million tonnes, in a range of 19.1 million to 20.9 million; exports averaged 3.85 million; total use averaged 16.4 million.

Maize: Five-year annual production averaged 1.7 million tonnes, in a range of 1.6 million to 1.8 million; imports averaged 96,800; total use averaged 1.8 million.

Transportation: Highways, 93,000 km, 23,418 km paved; railroads, 3,142 km, 2,625 km 1.0-m gauge; Cam Ranh, Da Nang, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City are major ports.

Internet: Country code, *.vn; five service providers; 121,000 users (2000 estimates).

Data (1,000 tonnes)

Production

Consumption

Exports

Imports

Wheat

0

700

0

700

Maize

1,800

1,850

0

50

Rice

20,600*

17,100

4,000

40

* Milled basis

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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