Vietnam is taking steps to renew its economic growth model, but not at the expense of environment, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh asserted on Thursday.
The Vietnamese deputy premier was one of the speakers at the opening session of the 2016 Vietnam Summit, an annual conference on external economics held yesterday in Ho Chi Minh City with backing from the English-language weekly news magazine The Economist.
Vietnam is set to renew its growth model by enhancing productivity, and adopting technological advances to create new competitive edges that will drive economic growth, according to the deputy premier.
The Vietnamese government supports the continuing push towards free trade, export, domestic production and consumption, while prioritizing reforms in agriculture, industry, and finance, Minh told the conference.
Sixty percent of Vietnam’s workforce currently works in the agriculture sector and the government targets to cut that down to 40 percent, with a majority of the workers moving into the service industry, Minh said.
The government is also set to focus on vocational training as a coping mechanism for unemployment, which is likely to rise in the aftermath of the fourth science-technology revolution.
“Vietnam will never trade sustainability factors, such as the environment, for economic growth,” Deputy PM Minh underlined.
The 2016 Vietnam Summit brought together nearly 300 voices from government, business and finance, civil society, and academia for a forthright discussion of the opportunities and challenges facing Vietnam.
Speaking at the event, Stephen Groff, vice president of the Asian Development Bank for East Asia, Southeast Asia and Pacific, warned against challenges in workforce training and retention in the context of global free trade, which Vietnam is likely to meet in the next five years.
Other experts suggested Vietnam focus on developing breakthrough areas, rather than relying on labor-intensive industries. They said the country should seek to join the global value chain and settle remaining issues to avoid the stalled attraction of capital and boost foreign direct investment.
In the meantime, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the government, ministries and agencies have offered incentives to industrial organizations until 2025, especially within the processing industry.
In the near future, Vietnam will offer conditions to ensure investment attraction is in tandem with environment protection while increasing connectivity among regions and localities, the Vietnam News Agency quoted Thang as saying.
Thang added that the government is also determined to accelerate the restructuring of state-owned enterprises, privatization, and stronger governance.