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Country Forecast Vietnam September 2017

Country Forecast Vietnam September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2557454
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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Policy towards private enterprise and competition


2017-18: Reform of the state-owned sector remains slow despite some high-profile (albeit small) public offerings of shares in state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The process of reducing red tape continues, albeit only gradually.


2019-21: More SOEs undertake reforms, dispose of non-core assets and are part-privatised. The competition law is applied more forcefully and harmonised with related regulations in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).


Policy towards foreign investment


2017-18: Restrictions on foreign investment are loosened further and tax incentives for such projects remain generous. The number of special economic zones grows, especially those for high-technology manufacturing. The relaxation of land- and property-ownership restrictions on foreigners continues.


2019-21: Red tape remains a hindrance but the government opens up more of the services sector to foreign investors.


Foreign trade and exchange controls


2017-18: Implementation of free-trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union starts. Talks between the 11 remaining signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership continue, but progress on a deal is sluggish. Negotiations for the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement make slow headway.


2019-21: Regional non-tariff barriers and barriers to trade in services in ASEAN are lowered and other non-ASEAN-related FTAs are pursued. Customs procedures are streamlined and harmonised with a handful of ASEAN member states, and the regulatory burden for importers and exporters is reduced.


Taxes


2017-18: Progress is made on improving tax collection, but inefficiencies and graft persist. Taxes are increasingly used as a tool of social policy, including through rises in "sin taxes".


2019-21: The tax base is broadened but the system remains complicated. The corporate tax rate for small and medium-sized firms is gradually reduced to 15-17%, but employers' social security contribution rates continue to rise. Phased increases in the value-added tax (VAT) rate begin.


Financing


2017-18: Policymakers work to reduce bad debts at banks and direct lending towards high-priority sectors. Merger-and-acquisition activity increases. Confidence in the stockmarket as a source of finance returns fully.


2019-21: Limits on the activities of foreign banks are loosened further, while the impact of a piecemeal lifting of caps on foreign ownership of banks encourages investment from abroad, leading to further consolidation of the banking sector.


The labour market


2017-18: Despite the tight labour market, wages remain competitive by regional standards. The urban-rural wage gap widens while shortages of skilled labour increase. However, a relaxation of foreign-labour rules provides some relief.


2019-21: Productivity-adjusted wages stay low. The risk of worker unrest rises as the cost of living continues to increase, especially in urban areas.


Infrastructure


2017-18: The supply of electricity remains inadequate. Demand for telecommunications services continues to rise sharply.


2019-21: The cargo sector and air travel grow rapidly. Work begins on the Long Thanh International Airport, near the commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City. Modest improvements are made to the city's road networks, and the north-south expressway between the capital, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City nears completion.



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