Vietnam and the IMF
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"I am delighted that Vietnam is one of the first countries I have visited as the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. This visit has provided me a valuable opportunity to gain a closer understanding of the Vietnamese economy. It was a privilege to meet with the General Secretary of the Party, Nong Duc Manh, with Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, and other senior government officials. At these meetings, I was impressed by the strong commitment of Vietnam's senior leadership to its reform program. I also met with a group of non governmental organizations (NGOs).
"I congratulated the authorities on Vietnam's impressive progress in promoting strong economic growth and dramatically reducing poverty during the last 10 years. Per capita income has more than doubled and the number of people living in poverty has been halved. These achievements reflect the vision of the government in moving forward steadfastly with its "doi moi" program.
"In my discussions with the authorities we agreed that a number of challenges remain for Vietnam to sustain its record of strong growth and poverty reduction over the longer term. This will require implementation of cautious macroeconomic policies, especially moderating credit growth to a more sustainable pace, including to contain inflationary pressure, and careful selection of investment projects. At the same time, the pace of structural reform needs to pick up, particularly in the financial sector and state-owned enterprises, and I am encouraged by the authorities' plans to reinvigorate to reform in these areas. Creating an environment conducive to the rapid expansion of private sector activity is also a priority. Openness to trade holds great promise for Vietnam's integration into the global economy. Vietnam has already made significant steps in recent years to liberalize its trade system and continued trade reform through WTO accession will help to sustain strong export expansion.
"My visit underlines the importance the IMF attaches to its strong relations with Vietnam. The IMF stands ready to assist Vietnam in any way we can, and we will continue to give support through regular policy dialogue with the government, providing analysis on macroeconomic and financial sector issues, supplemented by an active technical assistance program in the Fund's areas of expertise."
IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT