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Business in Vietnam

Vietnam shipped US$210.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, up by 269.1% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in and up by 30.1% from 2015 to 2016.

Vietnam’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (74.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Vietnam’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $648.2 billion in 2016 (on a purchasing power parity basis). Therefore, exports represent about 32.5% of total Vietnamese economic output.

Based on 2015 statistics, roughly half (52.8%) of Vietnamese exports by value were delivered to other Asian countries while 24.9% were sold to North America importers. Vietnam shipped another 21.8% worth of goods to Europe with about 2% going to Africa.

Given Vietnam’s population of 95.3 million people, its total $210.8 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $2,200 for every resident in that country.

Vietnam’s unemployment rate was 2.11% in December 2016 according to Trading Economics.

Vietnam’s Top 10 Exports

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Vietnamese global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Vietnam.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$76.9 billion (36.5% of total exports)
  2. Footwear: $17.9 billion (8.5%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $13 billion (6.2%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $12.9 billion (6.1%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $11.7 billion (5.6%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $8 billion (3.8%)
  7. Coffee, tea, spices: $4.5 billion (2.1%)
  8. Fish: $4.4 billion (2.1%)
  9. Leather/animal gut articles: $3.8 billion (1.8%)
  10. Fruits, nuts: $3.2 billion (1.5%)

Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 1,731% over the 7-year period starting in 2009.

In second place for improving Vietnam’s export sales was leather and animal gut articles via a 479.2% gain.

Vietnamese machinery including computers posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 448.8%, followed by exported footwear up by 330%.

The most modest increase among top Vietnamese exports belongs to the fish category, up by 22.1%.

Vietnam imported US$198.2 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2016, up by 183.3% since 2009 and up by 19.5% from 2015 to 2016

Vietnam’s top 10 imports accounted for over three-fifths (61%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Vietnamese imports represent 1.2% of overall global imports which totaled $16.473 trillion in 2016.

From a continental perspective and based on 2015 data, 80.6% of Vietnam’s total imports by value in 2016 were purchased from other Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 7.3% of import purchases by Vietnam while 5.3% worth of goods originated from North America. At 3.1%, a smaller percentage came from Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean.

Given Vietnam’s population of 95.3 million people, its total $198.2 billion in 2016 imports translates to roughly $2,100 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.

Vietnam’s Top 10 Imports

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Vietnam’s import purchases during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Vietnam.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$45.6 billion (23% of total imports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $21 billion (10.6%)
  3. Plastics, plastic articles: $9.6 billion (4.9%)
  4. Iron, steel: $8.8 billion (4.4%)
  5. Mineral fuels including oil: $7.6 billion (3.9%)
  6. Vehicles: $6.4 billion (3.3%)
  7. Aluminum: $5.9 billion (3%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $5.5 billion (2.8%)
  9. Fish: $5.2 billion (2.6%)
  10. Knit or crochet fabric: $5.2 billion (2.6%)

Imported fish had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up by 1,794% for the 7-year period starting in 2009.

In second place for improving sales was imported aluminum, up by 718.8%. Trailing that were Vietnamese imports of electrical machinery and equipment delivering the third-fastest gain up by 449.4%.

Mineral fuels including oil was the laggard among the top 10 Vietnamese imports, posting a modest 0.7% improvement.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Vietnam is a socialist country under the leadership of the Vietnam Communist Party. The Party holds a national congress every five years to outline the country’s overall direction and future course as well as to formalize policies.

The National Assembly, which includes 498 members and is open to non-Party members, is the supreme organ of state and the only body with constitutional and legislative power. The President of the State and the Prime Minister are elected by the National Assembly.

The President has the right to nominate candidates for a number of key positions including the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court and the Procurator-General of the People’s Office of Supervision and Control. Nominees are then approved by the National Assembly.

The Prime Minister, who is charged with the day-to-day handling of the Government, has the right to nominate and dismiss the members of his cabinet, though only with the approval of the National Assembly. He also has at his disposal the power to cancel or suspend decisions or directives issued by the ministries.

Communist Party
Secretary General Nong Duc Manh (since April 22, 2001)
Politburo, Central Committee
Secretariat Party Committee

The Communist Party of Vietnam, the vanguard of the Vietnam working class, the faithful representative of the rights and interests of the working class, the toiling people, and the whole nation, acting upon the Marxist – Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh’s thought, is the force leading the State and society. All Party organizations operate within the framework of the Constitution and the law.


The State guarantees and unceasingly promotes the people’s mastery in all fields, and severely punishes all acts violating the interests of the motherland and the people; it strives to build a rich and strong country in which social justice prevails, all men have enough to eat and to wear, enjoy freedom, happiness, and all necessary conditions for complete development.

National Assembly
Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong

The National Assembly is the highest representative organ of the people and the highest organ of State power of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The National Assembly is the only organ with constitutional and legislative powers.

The National Assembly shall decide the fundamental domestic and foreign policies,the socio-economic tasks, the country’s national – defence and security issues, the essential principles governing the organization and activity of the State machinery, the social relations and the activities of the citizen.

The National Assembly shall exercise supreme control over all activities of the State.

Nguyen Minh Triet
Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan

Being the Head of State, the President represents Vietnam internally and externally; shall be elected by the National Assembly from among its members. He is responsible to the National Assembly for his work reports to it. His term of office follows that of the National Assembly.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung
Deputy Prime Ministers Truong Vinh Trong, Pham Gia Khiem, Hoang Trung Hai and Nguyen Thien Nhan

Governmental office address: 1 Hoang Hoa Tham Str., Hanoi.

The Government is the executive organ of the National Assembly, the highest organ of state administration of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It shall carry out overall management of the work for the fulfillment of the political, economic, cultural, social , national – defense, security and external duties of the State.

The Government shall ensure the effectiveness of the State apparatus from the center to the grassroots, ensure the respect for and implementation of the Constitution and the law; it shall promote the mastery of the people in national construction and defense, ensure security and improvement of the people’s material and cultural living conditions.The Government is accountable to the National Assembly and shall made its reports to the National Assembly, its Standing Committee, and the country’s President.

Standing Committee of the National Assembly
Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong

The Standing Committee of the National Assembly is its permanent Committee. It is composed of:

  • The Chairman of the National Assembly;
  • The Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly;
  • The members.

The membership of the Standing Committee shall be determined by the National Assembly. A member of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly cannot be at the same time a member of the Government.

The Standing Committee of each legislature shall fulfil its tasks and exercise its powers until the election by the new legislature of a new Standing Committee.

Supreme People’s Court
Presiding Judge: Mr. Truong Hoa Binh

The Supreme People’s Court , the local People’s Courts, the Military Tribunals and the other tribunals established by law are thejudicial organs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Under special circumstances,the National Assembly may decide to set up a Special Tribunal.At the grassroots appropriate popular organizations shall be set up to deal with minor offenses and disputes among the people according to the provisions of the law.

Trials before People’s Courts with the participation of people’s assessors and before Military Tribunals with the participation of military assessors shall be conducted in conformity with the provisions of the law. During a trial the assessors shall be on an footing with the judges. During a trial the judges and assessors are independent and shall only obey the law. The People’s Courts shall hold their hearings in public, except in cases determined by law.

Supreme People’s Procuracy
Head: Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong

The Supreme People’s Procuracy supervises and controls obedience to the law by Ministries, organ of ministerial rank, other organs under the Government, local organs of power, economic bodies, social organizations, people’s and armed units and citizens. It exercises the right to initiate public prosecution, ensures a serious and uniform implementation of the law.

The local Offices of Supreme People’s Procuracy, the Military Offices of Procuracy supervise and control obedience to the law exercise the right to initiate public prosecution within the bounds of their responsibilities as prescribed by law.

Date Name Type
1 Jan Wednesday International New Year’s Day National holiday
23 Jan Thursday Tet Holiday National holiday
24 Jan Friday Vietnamese New Year’s Eve National holiday
25 Jan Saturday Vietnamese New Year National holiday
26 Jan Sunday Tet holiday National holiday
27 Jan Monday Tet holiday National holiday
28 Jan Tuesday Tet holiday National holiday
29 Jan Wednesday Tet holiday National holiday
14 Feb Friday Valentine’s Day Observance
20 Mar Friday March Equinox Season
2 Apr Thursday Hung Kings Festival National holiday
30 Apr Thursday Liberation Day/Reunification Day National holiday
1 May Friday International Labor Day National holiday
4 May Monday Working day for May 1 National holiday
21 Jun Sunday June Solstice Season
28 Jun Sunday Vietnamese Family Day Observance
2 Sep Wednesday Independence Day National holiday
22 Sep Tuesday September Equinox Season
20 Oct Tuesday Vietnamese Women’s Day Observance
31 Oct Saturday Halloween Observance
21 Dec Monday December Solstice Season
24 Dec Thursday Christmas Eve Observance
25 Dec Friday Christmas Day Observance
31 Dec Thursday International New Year’s Eve Observance