The changing world and implications for Vietnam

TalkVietnam, 21 March 2013

PANO – “Vietnam should persistently pursue its open-door policy on economics,” former Italian Prime Minister, Professor Romano Prodi suggested at a meeting with Vietnamese reporters during his recent visit to Vietnam in the framework of the Fourth ASEAN Event Series “Bridges – Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace”.

According to him, he has visited Vietnam several times, but the recent visit was very important as he acted as a bridge linking cultures of nations across the world.

The Professor believed that Vietnam had more opportunity than many other countries in the world to build a culture of peace and development.

“Vietnam is a young nation with youths full of energy and talent, who can take advantage of Vietnam’s current potentials,” the Professor affirmed.

However, he suggested that the country should expand connections with more countries, and that its institutions should closely follow international cooperation.

No need for economic groups

Romano Prodi was the Prime Minister of Italy for 2 office terms (1996-1998 and 2006-2008), the President of the European Commission in 1999 and is now the UN Special Envoy for Mali and the Sahel Zone. He is also known as an expert on industrial policies in Europe. Therefore, his assessments of the Vietnamese economy were appreciated. He said that each economy should find its own strategy for development.

“Vietnam has chosen to develop an open economy and I think it has been the right choice,” he said.

He considered that Vietnam should build a set of long-term laws and be sparing with changes in laws. The law should be clear for both domestic and foreign investors, he stressed. He also stated that during its development process, Vietnam faces a widening gap between the rich and poor, and to avoid the problem, the State should ensure social equality.

Although the EU is struggling with an economic slowdown and public debt, the Professor was still optimistic about economic and trade ties between the EU, Italy in particular, and Vietnam. He emphasized that Vietnam should draw more investment from foreign countries, including Italy and other EU countries, to help the domestic economy grow faster.

In terms of the strategy for the development of Vietnamese companies, he considered that Vietnamese businesses should first increase their production capacity and gradually improve their competitiveness in order to become strong rivals in the world.

“I think that Vietnamese companies should draw up proper strategies in line with the international market if they want to go out to the world’s market in 5-10 years’ time. At present and in the near future, international economic groups hold powerful influence over the world’s market; therefore, Vietnamese businesses do not need to become large economic groups, but should try to build their own strengths,” the Professor stated.

Change from mono-polar to multi-polar world

As a keynote speaker in the Fourth ASEAN event series “Bridges – Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace” in Vietnam, the Professor had a talk with Vietnamese students at the Hanoi Diplomatic Academy on March 18th.

At the talk, the Professor stated that the 21st century has seen a number of great changes in both political and economic terms. 20 years ago, the US economy dominated the world, but now many economies are growing and swelling very quickly, narrowing the domain of influence of the US economy over the world economy.

“The US involvement in the Iraq war and other conflicts across the world has considerably reduced its power. Meanwhile, China, India and several Asian nations are strongly rising in both economic and political terms,” he said.

He pointed out while Asian economies enjoyed an average economic growth rate of some 7.5 percent in recent years, the US economic growth rate expanded at 2 percent and the EU economy almost saw no growth.

According to him, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) or Turkey, another emerging nation, play an increasing important role in regulating the global economy.

“Clearly, the world is now changing from the mono-polar to the multi-polar system,” he concluded.
Translated by Hoang Quan