Vietnam is becoming one of the major exporters of raw materials and is fast emerging to become a major force in international trade. Vietnam trading partners are enjoying privileged access to Vietnam’s enormous rural production base, while at the same time enjoying some of the lowest tariff rates on many of Vietnam’s traded goods. The combination of these favorable conditions, as well as Vietnam’s ability to secure its massive agricultural industry and advance its position in global commodity markets, have resulted in some significant positive changes in Vietnam’s economy.
In recent years, Vietnam has emerged as one of the major agricultural exporters in the world. Over the past decade, Vietnam has experienced growth in agricultural production, allowing it to become one of the fastest growing agricultural economies in the world. This rapid growth has encouraged Vietnam’s agricultural sector to focus on improving productivity and reducing costs through innovation and technology-driven restructuring. This focus on efficiency has resulted in improved rural productivity, allowing Vietnam to realize significant increases in per unit of agricultural output. More specifically, the combination of lower labor and over-processing costs, along with better access to finance, has led to productivity growth that has outstripped that of its Asian counterparts.
Beyond improving productivity, Vietnam’s agricultural sector has enjoyed other important benefits. Foremost, the country’s diversification efforts have resulted in the creation of an impressive number of agricultural products. Vietnam is not just a rice producer: it is a major exporter of coffee, tea, corn, wheat, fruits, vegetables, and other food products. In fact, Vietnam is experiencing strong growth in its food export market (not to mention Vietnam’s status as one of the leading agricultural exporters of S Southeast Asia).
This diversification effort has been further facilitated by Vietnam’s agricultural policies, which have historically focused on promoting local production through long hours, low labor, and a focus on quality rather than quantity Vietnam Trading Partners. Although Vietnam’s government continues to implement policies that support this focus on quality, the reality is that Vietnam is a very large and crowded agricultural market. To make matters worse, the country’s inefficient transportation system hindered progress for years, but the effort has finally reached a level of improvement. Now, agricultural products are more available and more affordable. Moreover, farmers are enjoying greater flexibility in choosing markets, prices, and conditions. Vietnam’s agricultural policies are taking advantage of these improvements to promote growth in both domestic supply and demand.
Finally, Vietnam’s relative isolation from China and other East Asian economic giants has played a key role in its ability to attract foreign direct investment. In the past, Vietnam lagged behind other countries in agricultural exports, such as those of Japan or Taiwan, which enjoyed significant diversification benefits. But after 2021, when China began to devalue its currency in an effort to boost exports and increase market share, Vietnam’s agricultural market began a sharp slowdown. The same phenomenon then took hold of other countries, including those of the European Union, which was not previously exposed to the downsides of the Chinese devaluation.
These trends suggest that Vietnam’s government has made some major progress in facilitating private sector growth. But the advantages of Vietnam’s agricultural policies will only be realized if it can address the remaining constraints. Increased foreign direct investment in Vietnam is likely to have the greatest benefits when the country’s agricultural system gains a competitive edge over foreign competitors. But achieving that goal will only be possible if the country’s agricultural policies provide adequate support to achieve high levels of productivity growth. Only then will foreign investors reap the benefits of their investments in Vietnam.