During the French colonial period, Vietnamese foreign trade was characterized almost exclusively by the export of primary raw materials—such as rice, rubber, and other tropical products—and the import of manufactured goods from abroad, mainly from France. During the Vietnam War, both the North and South had a chronic imbalance in their balance of payments, as their sponsors pumped in military and economic assistance with little regard to their client’s ability to pay.
After reunification, these adverse conditions continued. Vietnam consistently ran a significant deficit in its trade relations with foreign countries. At first, the bulk of Vietnamese trade was with the Soviet Union and other Communist countries, which exported manufactured goods, food, and oil to Vietnam in return for cheap textile goods, cash crops, and maritime products. Trade was tightly controlled under the management of several state-owned trading corporations, each specializing in a particular commodity line. The United States imposed a trade embargo on North Vietnam in 1964 and all of Vietnam in 1976; this embargo was lifted in 1994.
Foreign trade has developed rapidly since the implementation of the doi moi reforms and the end of the U.S. embargo. Most foreign trade now takes place with other countries of Asia or with developed countries in the West. Exports have increased significantly, notably in the area of cash crops, oil, and rice. But imports of foreign technology and consumer goods have increased as well, and the trade deficit continues to be one of the country’s most serious problems. In 2007 the value of imports was estimated at $60.8 billion, while exports were estimated at $48.4 billion.
Vietnam’s national monetary unit is the new dông, which is divided into 100 xu (16,105 new dôngequal U.S.$1; 2007 average).
Until 1990 the only banking system within the country was The State Bank of Vietnam, with its headquarters in Hanoi. In 1990 the government established four independent commercial banks (for foreign trade, investment and construction, agricultural development, and industry and commerce) and allowed foreign banks to operate. The State Bank continues to perform general supervisory functions; it also controls the money supply and credit policies. The Bank of Foreign Trade is authorized to handle foreign currencies.
Modern tourism began in Vietnam during the colonial era, but it declined drastically during the long years of conflict after World War II. With the launching of economic reforms in 1986, the government opened the country to foreign travelers and has made a concerted effort to improve its tourist facilities as a means of earning hard currency. Old hotels like the Metropole in Hanoi and the Continental in Ho Chi Minh City have been renovated, and a number of new ones have been built in both cities. In addition, a number of foreign cruise lines stop at ports along the coast en route to Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2007, 4.2 million tourists from all parts of the world visited Vietnam. Most visitors make short trips to the major cities and the former imperial capital of Hue. Encarta "Vietnam" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
Photos of European countries to visit
Photos of Asian countries to visit
Photos of America