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Vietnam profits from the ravages of the pandemic, contained on its soil

“Comrades, an air of celebration and joy is spreading throughout the country! “, rejoiced, in December 2020, Nguyen Phu Trong, Secretary General of the Vietnamese Communist Party (PCV) and President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. For once, this self-proclaimed satisfaction is not just the typical propaganda discourse in this country which is politically one of the most repressive in Asia.

While was to open, Monday, January 25, in Hanoi, the 13e congress of the PCV, great five-year political meeting of Vietnam, the caciques of the regime have every reason, on the double health and economic plan, to congratulate themselves on the results of the year 2020. If we take its two criteria, the Vietnam is an exception in Southeast Asia, and even in the Asia-Pacific region, where the same results are mixed: in Thailand, few deaths due to the pandemic, but a feared recession of nearly 7% for the year 2021, according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund; steadily rising mortality in Indonesia, with one million people infected and over 27,000 deaths; state of health emergency in Tokyo in an archipelago which, although not devastated by the virus, is nevertheless affected by the disease.

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In this ocean of difficulties, Vietnam emerges as a textbook case and displays insolent economic health. The positive accumulation of several indicators should strengthen, at the end of the congress which ends on February 2, the political weight of the party’s caciques, including Secretary General Trong, 76 years old. The man is tough, an educated “Leninist” in the Soviet Union in the early 1980s.

Asean heavyweight

Among other good news for the government: growth which was 2.6% in 2020 and should be, according to some forecasts, 1.6% this year; exports grew by 9.9% in 2020, and the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Commerce expects growth of 3% to 4% in 2021.

The Vietnamese economy is now one of the heavyweights of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean): in 2020 it overtook Singapore and Malaysia, and is in fourth place, behind Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, rising above the latter in per capita GDP. The reasons for success? Vietnam was able to take advantage of the global recession, as its competitors sank into the doldrums, managing to keep its economy running while controlling the rate of infections. The country has thus continued its momentum of recent years, the post-communist nation having exploited the consequences of the Sino-American trade war for its own benefit.

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