Vietnam Following in China's Footsteps: The Third Wave of Emerging Asian Economies

Jean‐Raphael Chaponnière, Jean‐Pierre Cling and Bin Zhou

in Southern Engines of Global Growth

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199580606
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723353 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

Vietnam Following in China's Footsteps: The Third Wave of Emerging Asian Economies

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Vietnam has been following China's path closely and very successfully for the last two decades since the adoption of ‘doi moi’ in 1986. Over those last two decades, economic growth rates in both countries have been the highest worldwide. The increase of the Vietnamese share of world trade is the highest of all major Asian exporters (including China) since the mid‐1990s. In the current international context, doubts have been raised by some economists concerning the possibility for new Asian countries to take off and join the group of emerging countries. This chapter addresses this question with regard to Vietnam, which joined the WTO at the beginning of 2007. We start by briefly describing economic reform and trade policies in Vietnam, and their results in terms of economic growth and world integration. We then analyse Vietnamese trade specialization and the bilateral relationship with China. Finally, we assess the competition between Vietnam and China on world markets, and show that the export structures are very different. Both countries have benefited from a boom in their textile and clothing exports following the cessation of quotas (in the case of China) and the signing of USBTA (in the case of Vietnam). For Vietnam, reducing the specialization in textiles and clothing and joining the Asian production network in electronics represent a major challenge.

Keywords: China; export‐led growth; Vietnam; WTO

Chapter.  8277 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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