Photo: VGP

Vietnam is highly appreciated by the world for preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic very quickly and effectively. This advantage helps benefit Vietnam in quickly moving to a new normal stage, attracting investment flows as multinational corporations are reorganizing their supply chains. The Times of India has just posted an article on Vietnam's achievements in the first half of 2020, a special year of the world.

The article said that Vietnam, with a population of 97 million and an active border with China, has seen only over 350 confirmed coronavirus cases and not a single recorded death.

“It is therefore sitting pretty to rake in a COVID-19 dividend where a swifter return to normal translates into greater investments as multinationals look to rejig their supply chains,” the article said. “As it is, the lockdown was less disruptive to businesses here by plan, with government allowing many non-retail companies and factories to operate through it. And before the lockdown, Vietnam was in another sweet spot of having gained the most export market share in Asia over the last five years, thanks to which it was clipping along at a nice 7% growth”.

“While other economies are set to contract this year, ADB is forecasting a GDP growth of 4.1% here. HSBC bank has dubbed the country “Pho’nomenal Vietnam”, the reference to its iconic noodle soup, underlining how well it has managed both COVID-19 and the economy,” according to the article.

Maximising strengths to beat COVID-19

The article assessed that Vietnam’s “key” to win against COVID-19 is good management. “It is not like Vietnam doesn’t have notable vulnerabilities. Or that good fortune just landed in its lap. The real learning is how it has minimised weaknesses and maximised strengths. Making the most of the hand it has been dealt,” it said.

“Its medical facilities are less advanced than the peers in the region. Had the infection numbers grown here into hundreds of thousands its healthcare system would also have struggled. Its density of doctors of 8 per 10,000 people is marginally better than that of India but nothing to Brazil’s 22 or America’s 26. However, what Vietnam lacked in resources it more than made up for in preparation and prevention,” the article explained.

That is declaration of war against COVID-19, considering it an enemy. “It mobilised the communist party, the military and the state’s vast surveillance apparatus to meticulously track and trace all infections, often down to their second and third hand contacts, and then put them in institutional quarantine, which was not fancy but well-organised and strictly enforced,” the article noted as some reasons for Vietnam’s success.

“It could marvel how patriotic sentiment helped mobilise the entire Vietnamese society. This would be missing the wood for the trees. Manufacture of consent cannot last without a competent governing system. In Vietnam people are feeling a sense of national pride about how their country has outperformed the world in controlling COVID-19”.

Taking advantage of economic opportunities

According to the article, “Hanoi is using the stimulus opportunity to address some of the infrastructure shortfalls that limit the integration of domestic firms into the global value chain. From new metro lines to expressways, big projects are reportedly being fast tracked.”

“The real feather in its cap is the FTA with EU ratified last month. Again, it is a measure of how unusually Vietnam has kept juggling many balls that this is the first FTA the world is seeing since the outbreak of the pandemic,” the article said, despite the fact that the “FTA requires the entire supply chain to be within the two markets to qualify for zero duties.”

“This is a challenge for Vietnam which is heavily dependent on China for inputs. However, it has chosen not to play the defensive game. It has taken the bet that it can and will upscale,” the article went on to say, adding that “Hanoi is acting clinically, building alliances and planning for change over the longer term. In this sense, the EVFTA is already a ringing success”./.

Compiled by BTA