Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

State Policy and Practice: Pointers from Events since 1997

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

State Policy and Practice: Pointers from Events since 1997

Article excerpt

The basic conclusion to be reached from the aftermath of the 1997 crisis is, thus, that there was sufficient resilience, probably adaptive, in the Vietnamese economy for it to maintain macroeconomic stability and rather rapid growth, despite the loss of export markets in Asia and the associated slowdown in inward investment.

It is export performance after 1997 that is most interesting. Here it is worth stressing the delayed effects of earlier investments. As Hill has argued, lack of access to U.S. markets as well as a somewhat murky business environment (but see below) did not prevent Vietnamese garments exporters from securing rapid market penetration.18 Indeed, towards the end of the 1990s various medium-term trends appear to have come together, manifest in rapid exports growth despite the wide-ranging problems in the Asian economy. This points to the emergence of a robust outward-oriented trading nation, certainly still facing opportunities for securing better performance, but, in engaging with global competition, progressing rapidly up a rather steep learning curve. Detailed research is needed to establish the precise origins of this trend, but its existence is relatively certain. One can point to various policy changes that have freed up participation in exports, removed quotas and licences, and so forth; what is not certain is to what extent these had a real effect upon economic activity. …

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