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Vietnam Following in China?s Footsteps: The Third Wave of Emerging Asian Economies


  • Chaponniere, Jean-Raphael
  • Cling, Jean-Pierre
  • Zhou, Bin


Vietnam has been following China?s path closely and very successfully for the last two decades, since the adoption of ?Doi moi? in 1986. Over those last two decades, economic growth rates in both countries have been the highest worldwide (with GDP growing by 8 per cent and 10 per cent per year, respectively). The increase of the Vietnamese share of world trade is the highest of all major Asian exporters (including China) since the mid-1990s. In the current international context, doubts have been raised by some economists concerning the possibility for new Asian countries to take-off and join the group of emerging countries. Several obstacles might block this emergence, such as the rise of China and the stringent rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This paper addresses this question with regard to Vietnam, who joined the WTO at the beginning of 2007: we study Vietnam?s potential for sustainable growth and international integration. We start by briefly describing economic reform and trade policies in Vietnam, and their results in terms of economic growth and world integration. We then analyse Vietnamese trade specialization and the bilateral relationship with China. Finally, we assess the competition between Vietnam and China on world markets, and show that the export structures are very different. Both countries have benefited from a boom in their textile and clothing exports following the cessation of quotas (in the case of China) and the signing of USBTA (in the case of Vietnam). For Vietnam, reducing the specialization in textiles and clothing, and joining the Asian production network in electronics, represents a major challenge.

Suggested Citation

  • Chaponniere, Jean-Raphael & Cling, Jean-Pierre & Zhou, Bin, 2008. "Vietnam Following in China?s Footsteps: The Third Wave of Emerging Asian Economies," WIDER Working Paper Series 084, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2008-84

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    1. Cees van Beers & Guido Biessen, 1996. "Trade Possibilities and Structure of Foreign Trade: The Case of Hungary and Poland," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 38(2-3), pages 1-19, September.
    2. Barry Eichengreen & Hui Tong, 2007. "Is China’s FDI Coming at the Expense of Other Countries?," Chapters,in: Foreign Direct Investment in Europe, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Lall, Sanjaya & Albaladejo, Manuel, 2004. "China's Competitive Performance: A Threat to East Asian Manufactured Exports?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1441-1466, September.
    4. Barry Eichengreen & Hui Tong, 2007. "Is China’s FDI Coming at the Expense of Other Countries?," Chapters,in: Foreign Direct Investment in Europe, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Barry Eichengreen & Yeongseop Rhee & Hui Tong, 2004. "The Impact of China on the Exports of Other Asian Countries," NBER Working Papers 10768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Guillaume Gaulier & Françoise Lemoine & Deniz Ünal-Kesenci, 2005. "China’s Integration in East Asia: Production Sharing, FDI & High-Tech Trade," Working Papers 2005-09, CEPII research center.
    7. Alan G. Ahearne & John G. Fernald & Prakash Loungani & John W. Schindler, 2006. "Flying geese or sitting ducks: China’s impact on the trading fortunes of other Asian economies," International Finance Discussion Papers 887, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. Benner, Maximilian, 2013. "Developing Economies with Industrial Policy: Towards a Toolbox for Economic Growth. With Case Studies of Jordan and Egypt," MPRA Paper 43857, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2013.
    2. Benner, Maximilian, 2010. "Exportinduziertes Wachstum als Chance für die „nächsten Tiger“?
      [Export-led growth as a chance for the “next tigers”?]
      ," MPRA Paper 40744, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Houssein Boumellassa & Hugo Valin, 2009. "Vietnam's Accession to the WTO: Expost Evaluation in a Dynamic Perspective," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 118, pages 13-42.
    4. Cai, Lixin & Liu, Amy Y.C., 2015. "Wage determination and distribution in urban China and Vietnam: A comparative analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 186-203.
    5. Jean-Raphael Chaponniere & Jean-Pierre Cling, 2009. "Vietnam's Export-Led Growth Model and Competition with China," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 118, pages 101-130.

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    export-led growth; WTO; Vietnam; China;

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