A Dialogue on Vietnam’s Economic Development

New York - On October 9, 2019, Vietnam Finance Society organized a discussion with Dr. Edmund Malesky and Dr. Tran Ngoc Anh at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) of Columbia University. Dr. Malesky is a professor of Political Economy at Duke University who has been researching on Vietnam for more than 20 years. Dr. Tran Ngoc Anh is a professor at Indiana University and a Member of the Economic Advisory Board for the Prime Minister of Vietnam.

During the event, Dr. Tran and Dr. Malesky provided their insights on the impacts of the current US-China trade war on Vietnam’s economy as well as their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in the medium and long term. The first half of the talk examined recent reports on the trade war’s benefits for Vietnam. Dr. Malesky presented his research data, highlighting sectors that benefited the most from the ongoing trade war. The second half of the talk delved into the challenges and opportunities facing Vietnam as it moves forward to become a middle income country. Climate change, urbanization, rising wages and ease of doing business are critical issues that require the government’s attention. Nevertheless, both speakers were optimistic about the future of Vietnam’s economy and saw the rising interest from foreign investors as a welcoming sign. As a concluding thought, Dr. Tran encouraged interested investors and professionals to research and understand the “Vietnamese way” of doing business in order to succeed.

The audience was eager to ask many thought-provoking questions about the state of the economy; many are keen to maintain their connection with Vietnam despite the distance. Vietnam Finance Society is striving to fill that gap and welcomes any opportunities to connect Vietnam and the United States in the future. We would like to thank the Southeast Asian Student Initiative (SEASI) at Columbia SIPA for hosting this event, and a special thanks to Trang Ngo for moderating the discussion.