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The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by Communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the Communist North and anti-Communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under Communist rule. Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies, the persecution and mass exodus of individuals - many of them successful South Vietnamese merchants - and growing international isolation. However, since the enactment of Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The Communist leaders, however, maintain control on political expression and have resisted outside calls to improve human rights. The country continues to experience small-scale protests from various groups - the vast majority connected to land-use issues, calls for increased political space, and the lack of equitable mechanisms for resolving disputes. Various ethnic minorities, such as the Montagnards of the Central Highlands and the Khmer Krom in the southern delta region, have also held protests.


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Economy - overview
Vietnam is a densely-populated developing country that in the last 30 years has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally-planned economy. While Vietnam's economy remains dominated by state-owned enterprises, which still produce about 40% of GDP, Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic liberalization and international integration. They have moved to implement the structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive export-driven industries. Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in January 2007 following more than a decade-long negotiation process. Vietnam became an official negotiating partner in the developing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in 2010. Agriculture's share of economic output has continued to shrink from about 25% in 2000 to about 22% in 2011, while industry's share increased from 36% to 40% in the same period. Deep poverty has declined significantly, and Vietnam is working to create jobs to meet the challenge of a labor force that is growing by more than one million people every year. The global recession has hurt Vietnam's export-oriented economy, with GDP in 2009-11 growing less than the 7% per annum average achieved during the last decade. In 2011, exports increased by more than 33%, year-on-year, and the trade deficit, while reduced from 2010, remained high, prompting the government to maintain administrative trade measures to limit the trade deficit. Vietnam's managed currency, the dong, continues to face downward pressure due to a persistent trade imbalance. Since 2008, the government devalued it in excess of 20% through a series of small devaluations. Foreign donors pledged nearly $8 billion in new development assistance for 2011. However, the government's strong growth-oriented economic policies have caused it to struggle to control one of the region's highest inflation rates, which reached as high as 23% in August 2011 and averaged 18% for the year. In February 2011, Vietnam shifted its focus away from economic growth to stabilizing its economy and tightened fiscal and monetary policies. In early 2012 Vietnam unveiled a broad "three pillar" economic reform program, proposing the restructuring of public investment, state-owned enterprises and the banking sector. Vietnam's economy continues to face challenges from low foreign exchange reserves, an undercapitalized banking sector, and high borrowing costs. The near-bankruptcy and subsequent default of the state-owned-enterprise Vinashin, a leading shipbuilder, led to a ratings downgrade of Vietnam's sovereign debt, exacerbating Vietnam's borrowing difficulties.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 42
$303.8 billion (2011 est.)
$286.9 billion (2010 est.)
$268.7 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$122.7 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 45
5.9% (2011 est.)
6.8% (2010 est.)
5.3% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 166
$3,400 (2011 est.)
$3,300 (2010 est.)
$3,100 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 22%
Industry 40.3%
Services 37.7% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 13
46.48 million (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 48%
Industry 22.4%
Services 29.6% (2011)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 19
2.3% (2011 est.)
2.9% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line
14.5% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 3.2%
Highest 10% 30.2% (2008)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 74
37.6 (2008)
36.1 (1998)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 10
34.6% of GDP (2011 est.)

Revenues $32.8 billion
Expenditures $35.7 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 116
26.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 84
-2.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 47
57.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
57.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
Data cover general government debt, and excludes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment. Debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions.

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 213
18.7% (2011 est.)
10% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 44
13% (31 December 2011)
7% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 61
16.95% (31 December 2011 est.)
13.135% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 55
$32.94 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$32.08 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 47
$133.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$127.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 43
$152.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$138 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 55
$26 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$37 billion (31 December 2010)
$35 billion (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
Paddy rice, coffee, rubber, tea, pepper, soybeans, cashews, sugar cane, peanuts, bananas; poultry; fish, seafood

Food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building; mining, coal, steel; cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, mobile phones

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 54
6% (2011 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 31
106 billion kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 31
101 billion kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity - exports
535 million kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
3.85 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 36
305,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 38
321,500 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 53
210,500 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 44
227,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 45
600 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 44
8.5 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 47
9.5 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 203
0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 58
1 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 48
192.5 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 142
-$1.896 billion (2011 est.)
-$4.287 billion (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 42
$95.32 billion (2011 est.)
$72.19 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Clothes, shoes, marine products, crude oil, electronics, wooden products, rice, machinery

Exports - partners
US 18%, China 11%, Japan 11%, Germany 3.7% (2011 est.)

Imports World Ranking: 35
$97.83 billion (2011 est.)
$77.34 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Machinery and equipment, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for the clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles

Imports - partners
China 22%, South Korea 13.2%, Japan 10.4%, Taiwan 8.6%, Thailand 6.4%, Singapore 6.4% (2011 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 60
$17.67 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$12.93 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 62
$39.73 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$35.14 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home World Ranking: 50
$65.82 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$57.92 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad World Ranking: 53
$7.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$5.3 billion (31 December 2008)

Exchange rates
Dong (VND) per US dollar -
20,509.75 (2011 est.)
18,612.92 (2010 est.)
17,799.6 (2009)
16,548.3 (2008)
16,119 (2007)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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Vietnam (Hanoi):
Country Flag
Country Locator

GPS points from Vietnam (Hanoi)

square Ngai Giao Vietnam (general)

square Mui My A Vietnam (general)

square Kouei Tcha Vietnam (general)

square Rach Sa Dec Vietnam (general)

square Ta Piac Tinh Lang Son

square Na Hieu Vietnam (general)

square Lang Son Tinh Lang Son

square An Nghiep (1) Vietnam (general)

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