It’s the beginning of the year, a time for New Year’s resolutions. It’s a crucial time because if you don’t start acting on your resolution now, chances are you won’t see it through at all. Not unlike us ordinary citizens, the Government of Việt Nam has some resolutions to keep.
While the first resolution was the standard offering on socio-economic development for the year, the second was to improve the country’s business environment and competitiveness on the international stage. Goals were set to improve the country’s doing business ranking by 15-20 spots, logistics index by 5-10 spots from 2019-21 and competitiveness ranking by 5-10 spots.
The order it was issued no coincidence.
The year 2018 marked an important milestone for the country’s efforts to integrate in global commence with the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement of Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
While working to improve the business environment and competitiveness has always been important for the Government, joining the CPTPP has made them top priorities. The trade deal, one of the largest ever signed which accounts for 15 per cent of the world’s total GDP, presents the country with unprecedented opportunities and challenges.
The resolution demonstrates a shift in the Government’s policy and highlights the crucial role Vietnamese enterprises are to play in the future. Improving the country’s business environment and competitiveness are fundamental steps to secure its place in global trade.
This year’s resolution replaced a similar resolution issued last May, which left only seven months for agencies to act on it. The Government must have realised the clock is ticking and soon competition will be breathing down our necks.
From 2015 to 2018, Việt Nam managed to climb 21 spots in World Bank’s Doing Business ranking to 69th out of 190 and 25 spots up in the logistics performance index. The country jumped two places to 45th of 127 in Global Innovation Index 2018 from the 2017 ranking, its highest ranking in the last 10 years.
However, the country currently ranks last among CPTPP’s member economies in the Doing Business ranking and there has been a worrying trend of the country backtracking from progress made in certain criteria.
The timing of the Government’s resolution this year, then, was nothing sort of a much-needed push to get our priorities straight.
These are ambitious goals. Yet now is the time to be ambitious, because failing to achieve such goals will be tantamount to failing to make use of the benefits that global trade brings while subjecting Vietnamese enterprises to ever-growing overseas competition. There is also room for co-operation, but self-sufficiency and self-improvement are the cornerstones required to build it on.
Being the second resolution set for the year means there will be ample time for Government agencies to come up with strategies to realise their goals. However, the Government must be on top of the situation throughout the year. Mechanisms must be built and measures must be taken to ensure that the whole country’s efforts are focused on the right direction.
We are not the only ones striving to move forward, said the head of the Central Institute for Economic Management Nguyễn Đình Cung. There’s a race on the path to prosperity, he said, and the business environment and the ability to compete will play an important part in the race.
Sharing that view, President of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vũ Tiến Lộc said the competition will only get tougher in the future. With all the free trade agreements that the country has signed such as the CPTPP and the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), there is no space to back out.
Ready or not, the deals were inked and time waits for no one. With the CPTPP has already entered into force and the EVFTA soon to follow, the time to act is now. — VNS