RMIT Vietnam NewsVietnam poised for success in global economy, says expert

Vietnam poised for success in global economy, says expert

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 17:04
Professor Benny Widyono presents his book Dancing in the Shadows to RMIT Vietnam President Professor Gael McDonald.

Vietnam’s economy is extraordinarily well-placed to take advantage of the growth of China and three significant trading agreements, an Asia expert from the University of Connecticut said.

Emeritus Professor Benny Widyono spoke on Rebalancing global power towards Asia: The economic implications for Vietnam, a workshop held at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South campus by the KPMG-RMIT Centre for Governance.

“Vietnam is a participant of all three trade initiatives: ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has not yet been ratified,” he said.

“If all three materialise there will be growth and prosperity for Vietnam, which will have year-on-year growth from 2012 to 2017.

“Even though China is not in two of trade organisations, both China and Vietnam can benefit if China sets up many companies in Vietnam to get preferential access to foreign markets.”

RMIT Vietnam President Professor Gael McDonald said Professor Widyono was well placed to comment on how Vietnam’s businesses could take advantage of the shifting regional economic and power dynamics.

“Having been the former UN Secretary General’s representative in Cambodia, a career diplomat for 35 years and currently on the Economics Faculty at the University of Connecticut, Professor Widyono’s observations on the reshaping of the economic ascendency of Asia are apt,” she said.

Emphasising the extent of China’s growth, Professor Widyono said that for about 30 years the country’s economy grew nearly 10 per cent a year, unmatched in modern history.

So if China dominates the world economy, what is the role of Vietnam, Professor Widyono asked.

“As a neighbour, if China is big, ASEAN will also be big, and Vietnam will have a large role,” he said.

“ASEAN is 10 states moving towards a single market of 622 million people with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour and freer flow of capital.

“In 2014 ASEAN’s GDP was US$2.6 trillion; by 2020 it is forecast to be US$4.7 trillion.”

Professor Widyono played down the significance of the ongoing tensions in the East Sea.

“This is in the background and should not prevent Vietnam continuing its economic relationship with China,” he said.

The KPMG-RMIT Centre of Governance, established in 2014, aims to develop and disseminate industry-focused thought leadership in the field of governance, especially through publishing joint research, encouraging dialogue and debate at networking events.

This is the second seminar held by the Centre following its inaugural 2015 seminar, Corporate Governance Development: Vietnam perspectives.

View the abstract of Professor Widyono's presentation here.

Story: Sharon Webb