Vietnam's Superb Export Performance Sets Example for Bangladesh
A recent discussion titled 'Vietnam's Superb Export Performance: Lessons for Bangladesh' was held in Bangladesh. The webinar's discussants dwelt at length on how Vietnam achieved its economic miracle. The issues that figured prominently in the talk included how Vietnam accomplished this economic feat through trade liberalization, how it complemented external trade liberalization with domestic reforms by way of deregulation, its success in reducing cost of business, its huge public investment in human and physical capital and so on and so forth.
Bangladesh's economy and physical infrastructure were in a shambles after the nine months' liberation war against Pakistan. So was the case with Vietnam that fought a still longer-two decades long-national liberation war against a superpower, the USA.
In the post-war years, Vietnam's economy took a nosedive with the inflation rate soaring to more than 700 per cent. The value of the country's import was more than its export.
In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, Vietnam's GDP stood at US$ 261.9 billion, whereas for Bangladesh, it was US$302. But up close, considering its population size, Bangladesh is a larger country. As such, it should also be an economy larger than Vietnam. In 1984, Vietnam's population size was around 75 per cent (actually 78.61 per cent) of that of Bangladesh. But in 2019, the ratio stood at 59 per cent. Vietnam is now running neck and neck in the economic race and given its pace of progress it would soon surpass Bangladesh. All this progress came within a span of three decades, cited The Financial Express.
|Vietnam was more or less similar to Bangladesh during the 1980s in terms of exports and attracting foreign investments, but the Asian country has now achieved an enviable position in such indicators – far ahead of Bangladesh.|
Experts attribute Vietnam's success to its government's export-friendly policy, liberal stance on attracting foreign investments, diversification of export products and markets, boosting human resource development, and joining forces with regional and global economic powers.
"We must figure out why Samsung settled for Vietnam despite initially showing interest towards Bangladesh. This move has influenced other investors as well. Why has no other large Korean company – excluding YoungOne – visited Bangladesh as yet? Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said at the webinar.
"Bangladesh is receiving duty free export facilities from various countries, including those from Europe. Vietnam is doing better than Bangladesh in this sector without this facility. We must review the reasons behind this phenomenon," he said.
|In terms of exports and foreign investment, Vietnam was more or less similar to Bangladesh in the 1980s. But now Vietnam is far ahead of Bangladesh. Photo: textiletoday|
Criticizing Bangladesh's existing policy on boosting exports and attracting foreign direct investments (FDI), Prof Sobhan pointed out that Vietnam took advantage of a lot of other facilities that Bangladesh could not.
Meanwhile, economists and business leaders said Vietnam's strong policy support has helped the country boost its exports and FDI, but Bangladesh could not achieve its desired success on such indicators despite having the potential to do so.
Bangladesh should – if not fully, then partially – follow the model Vietnam has been utilizing for the past three decades, they added.
Presenting the keynote at the event organized by Policy Research Institute (PRI), its Vice Chairman Dr Sadiq Ahmed showed how Vietnam achieved success in their export-oriented industries - from tackling dependency on oil in the 1990s to diversifying their export goods, cited The Business Standard.
"The country did not depend on just one sector, but utilized several ones. In comparison, Bangladesh's 80% exports depend on just one sector," he added.
According to The Financial Express, there are reasons lay behind that make the well-known policies adopted by Vietnam so effective. Firstly, the Vietnamese leaders have the political will. They are single-minded in their objectives. Secondly, they are an incorruptible lot. Such qualities of leadership are rare in most other nations. Thirdly, the post-war Vietnamese society was a highly disciplined one. The workforce, too, was a highly disciplined and motivated one. Finally, since the beginning, the government has been stable and there has been continuity in its policies. All these features factored into the country's growth. And here lies the real secret of Vietnamese miracle.
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