Economic and Political Overview

flag Vietnam Vietnam: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response


Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Vietnam is one of the fastest growing countries in the world and its economy has shown resilience to trade wars and slower growth rates in neighbouring China. This accelerated economic pace is due to labour shifting from agriculture to manufacturing and services, private investment, a strong tourist sector, higher wages, and accelerating urbanisation. Exports constitute an increasingly significant contribution to Vietnam's GDP and certain sectors, such as industrial production, textile, electronics and seafood production have been growing rapidly. Growth reached a 10-year high of 7.2% in 2019 and due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, dropped but remained in positive territory in 2020 with 2.9%, 2021 with 2.6% and then 2022 with 7%. According to the updated IMF forecasts from January 2023, GDP growth in Vietnam is expected to reach 6.2% in 2023 and 6.6% in 2024, subject to the post-pandemic global economic recovery.

According to the IMF, government debt reached 41.7% of GDP in 2020, 39.7% in 2021 and 40.2% in 2022. It is expected to stabilise at 40.5% and 40.8% in 2022 and 2023. This limited increase is a result of tightening monetary policies and limits on new government guarantees. Inflation reached 1.8% in 2021 from 3.2% in 2020, and 3.8% in 2022. It is forecast to average 3.9% in 2023 and 3.5% in 2024 by the latest World Economic Outlook of the IMF (January 2023). Diversified trade structure, rising wages and domestic consumption are the backbone of the Vietnamese economic growth. Nonetheless, labour costs remain competitive, which help attract foreign investments to the country. Economic challenges include lack of infrastructure, business climate shortcomings, pending public sector reforms, growing inequality, a weak banking system. Tax reforms and privatisation of state-owned companies helped compensate the budget deficit in 2021 which stayed below 4% of GDP (Financial Post, 2022). Around 40% of Vietnam's debt has medium or long-term maturity, a significant risk considering 40% of said debt is denominated in foreign currencies and represent a currency risk. Nonetheless, public authorities continue to intervene in both directions to keep the Dong within a narrow band against major international currencies and accrue foreign reserves.

The unemployment rate in Vietnam remains particularly low. It reached 2.7% in 2021 from 2.5% in 2020 and 2.4% in 2022. It is expected to reach 2.3% in 2022 and 2023 (IMF, January 2023). Social challenges include poverty reduction, improving higher education, and allowing freedom of the press. Transparency International ranks Vietnam as 77th out of 180 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index 2022, from the 87th spot a year earlier.

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 346.31369.74406.45449.09498.37
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 3,5493,7534,0874,4764,925
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 41.339.337.136.335.4
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 15.06-7.87-3.570.982.91
Current Account (in % of GDP) 4.3-2.1-

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Vietnam's economy is based on large state-owned industries such as textiles, food, furniture, plastics and paper as well as tourism and telecommunications. Agriculture represented 12.6% of GDP and employs 37% of the total workforce in 2022 (World Bank, 2023). Main crops include rice, coffee, cashew nuts, corn, pepper, sweet potatoes, peanuts, cotton, rubber and tea as well as aquaculture. While agricultural trade surplus represented over 11 billion USD in 2022, the livestock industry continued to suffer from various diseases, including swine flu.

Industry contributed 37.5% of GDP and employed 27% of the total workforce in 2022 (World Bank, 2023). The energy sector has boomed in recent years (coal, hydrocarbons, electricity, cement, steel industry). Despite being a 'newcomer' in the oil industry, Vietnam has become the third largest Southeast Asian producer. The country has also invested in high value-added industries such as cars, electronic and computer technologies (software).

Services represented 41.2% of GDP and employed 35% of the total workforce in 2021 (World Bank, 2023). Main services include tourism and telecommunications.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 37.2 27.4 35.3
Value Added (in % of GDP) 12.6 37.5 41.2
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.3 3.6 1.6

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Find more information about your business sector on our service Market Reports.

Monetary Indicators 20152016201820192020
Vietnamese Dong (VND) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 618.93617.16666.05649.30589.84

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency Converter.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Vietnam is one of the most open economies to international trade in Asia. Vietnamese trade represented 186% of GDP in 2021 (World Bank, 2023). Vietnam exports transmission electronic apparatus and telephones (22% of all exports in 2021), electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies (4.3%), footwear, technology products and automatic data processing machines. Imports include electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies (14.5% of all imports in 2021), electronic apparatus, semiconductors and printed circuits (Comtrade, 2023).

The main trading partners are the United States (28.7% of all exports in 2021), China (16.7%), South Korea (6.5%) and Japan (6%). Its main providers are China (33.2% of all imports), South Korea (17%), Japan (6.8%) and the United States (4.6%). The Vietnamese economic model remains heavily dependent on foreign investment and exports, especially to the United States and China. In recent years, Vietnam has demonstrated strong commitment to trade liberalisation. It joined the WTO in 2007 and signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the ASEAN countries and the United States. Vietnam also enjoys a cooperation agreement with the EU. A free trade agreement between both parties was ratified by the European Parliament in February 2020 and is expected to enter into force soon. A Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) - the world’s largest trade agreement - was signed by Vietnam in 2020, which includes 16 countries in total: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand.

The value of exports of goods was estimated at 335.92 billion USD in 2021, up from 282.72 billion USD in 2020. The imports of goods amounted to 331.58 billion USD in 2021, up from 262.75 billion USD in 2020. The trade surplus reached 17.7 billion USD in 2021, against 30.7 billion in the previous year. Vietnam reported a 18.8% growth in exports in 2021, as it saw its trade surplus with the United States, its largest export market, widening to an all time high 94.9 billion USD in 2022 (NASDAQ, 2023). Vietnam's total exports in 2021 came in at 402.89 billion USD, while its total imports rose 26.5% to 350.98 billion USD, resulting in a trade surplus including services of 1.963 billion USD (WTO, 2023). Vietnamese trade is characterised by some geographic inequality: the country shows a trade surplus with Western countries, but a series of deficits with some of its Asian neighbours. To achieve further progress, the country must continue to increase the value of exports and achieve product diversification. 

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 211,518236,862253,393262,753331,582
Exports of Goods (million USD) 214,323243,699264,268282,725335,929
Imports of Services (million USD) 16,82417,80218,55216,91419,407
Exports of Services (million USD) 12,94824,47727,42118,6773,673
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 17.312.
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 81.884.485.284.493.3
Trade Balance (million USD) 10,84616,54021,49430,70817,697
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 6,81612,86019,14320,4211,963
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 161.0164.7164.7163.2186.5

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United States 28.7%
China 16.7%
South Korea 6.5%
Japan 6.0%
Hong Kong SAR, China 3.6%
See More Countries 38.6%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 33.2%
South Korea 17.0%
Japan 6.8%
United States 4.6%
Thailand 3.8%
See More Countries 34.6%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

335.8 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 21.6%
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 4.3%
Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics,...Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of textile materials (excl. toy footwear) 2.7%
Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats...Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats and medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture) 2.3%
Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying...Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of heading 8469 to 8472, n.e.s. 2.0%
See More Products 67.1%
330.8 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 14.5%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 7.3%
Parts suitable for use solely or principally with...Parts suitable for use solely or principally with transmission and reception apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting, television, television cameras, still image video cameras and other video camera recorders, radar apparatus, radio navigational aid apparatus or radio remote control apparatus, n.e.s. 2.1%
Printed circuitsPrinted circuits 1.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 1.5%
See More Products 72.9%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.


Main Services

16.8 bn USD of services exported in 2019
18.4 bn USD of services imported in 2019

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Vietnam Ministry of Trade
Vietnam Ministry of Planning and Investment
Statistical Office
General Statistics Office of Vietnam
Central Bank
State Bank of Vietnam
Stock Exchange
Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange
Hanoi Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Google Vietnam
Yahoo! Vietnam
Economic Portals
Vietnam Economic Portal

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Võ Thị Ánh Xuân (acting) since 18 January 2023
Prime Minister: Pham Minh CHINH (since 5 April 2021)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2028 (exact date to be confirmed)
National Assembly: May 2026
Main Political Parties
Since Vietnam is a one-party state, only The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is legally allowed to hold official power.
Type of State
Single Party Socialist Republic.
Executive Power
The President of Vietnam is the incumbent head of state and the nominal commander in chief of the military of Vietnam, chairing the Council on National Defence and Security. The president is considered to hold the second most powerful position in the Vietnamese political system after the General Secretary of the Communist Party. The President and General Secretary positions can be held by the same person at the same time.
The Prime Minister of Vietnam is the head of government, presiding over a council of ministers composed of a deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers and Heads of ministerial-level agencies. The President is elected by the parliament from among its members for a five-year term. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President from among the members of the parliament as head of the government. The government is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and ratification of the parliament.
Legislative Power
The National Assembly of Vietnam is the unicameral legislature of the state, composed of 499 members. All members of the council of ministers are derived from the National Assembly. Parliament members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; however, almost all are members of the Communist Party. According to the country's constitution, the National Assembly is the highest representative body of the people and the only organisation with legislative powers. It has a broad mandate to oversee all government functions.

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Vietnam please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.


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Latest Update: September 2023