The 2020 is considered as a year of difficulties and challenges for the world economy in general, including Viet Nam. The world economy is forecasted to experience the most serious recession in history, the growth of major economies has declined deeply due to negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Viet Nam’s economy still maintained growth with GDP growth estimated to increase by 2.91%.

The Covid-19 has been complicatedly evolved, disrupting socio-economic activities of countries around the world; the US-China trade conflict continues. Domestically, natural disasters and epidemics have significant impacts on economic activities and people’s lives; unemployment and underemployment rates have been high. However, with drastic and effective solutions in complementing the dual goal of “prevent pandemic simultaneously with and develop socio-economic”, Viet Nam economy still achieved positive results with the economic growth maintained. Although GDP growth in 2020 reached the lowest rate in the  period 2011-2020, but in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, this was a success of our country in the group of highest growth rate in the world. With China and Myanmar, Viet Nam is one of three countries in Asia which has positive growth rate this year, at the same time the economy scale reached over 343 billion USD[1], passed Singapore (337.5 billion USD) and Malaysia (336.3 billion USD), making Viet Nam to be the fourth biggest economy[2] in South East Asia (behind Indonesia 1,088.8 billion USD; Thailand 509.2 billion USD and Philippines 367.4 billion USD).


In the agriculture, forestry and fishery sector, the output of some perennial crops, major livestock products and shrimp production in 2020 increased significantly, bringing the growth rate of this sector to 2.68%, higher than in 2019 (2.01%). Facing with epidemics on crops and livestock, climate change, unremoved EC yellow card in fishing, especially Covid-19 pandemic, but this sector has reaped postive results with outstanding efforts through solutions to restructure crops and seasons. Of which, the agricultural sector increased by 2.55%; the forestry sector increased by 2.82% and the fishery sector by 3.08% (the corresponding growth rates of sectors in 2019 were 0.61%; 4.98% and 6.30% respectively). Particularly, the results of agricultural exports increased sharply in the context of difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, rice export turnover for the first time reached more than 3 billion USD, up 9.3% compared to 2019; wood and wood products reached 12,323.3 billion USD, up 15.7%. In contrast with the forest sector, the picture of seafood exports is bleaker when the export turnover in 2020 is only 8.4 billion USD, down 1.8% from the previous year.

In the general growth of the whole economy, the industry and construction sector achieved the highest growth rate with 3.98%, contributing 1.62 percentage points to the general growth. The manufacturing continued to play a key role in driving the growth of the economy with an increase of 5.82%, contributing 1.25 percentage points. Industrial production index of a number of industries such as drug production, pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmaceuticals; metal production; production of coke coal, refined petroleum products; manufacturing electronic products, computers and optical products… increased significantly with corresponding growth rate of 27.1%; 14.4%; 11.4% and 11.3%, contributing to positive growth in the manufacturing during the context of the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the supply chain of input materials for production.

For the service sector, total retail sales of consumer goods and services decreased by 1.2% in the first 6 months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, but then recovered markedly with an increase in the last 6 months by 6.2%, bringing the domestic trade for the whole year rose by 2.6%. Growth rates of some market service industries are as follows: Wholesale and retail increased by 5.53% over the previous year, contributing 0.61 percentage points; finance, banking and insurance increased by 6.87%, contributing 0.46 percentage points; transportation down by 1.88%, decreased 0.06 percentage points; the accommodation and catering services sector decreased by 14.68%, decreased by 0.62 percentage points.

A bright spot in the economic picture in 2020 that cannot be ignored is that export has overcome difficulties in the pandemic situation, maintained positive growth; trade surplus reached a record high (19.1 billion USD) and trade balance maintained trade surplus for 5 consecutive years (trade surplus of goods in 2016-2020 period respectively: 6 billion USD; 1.9 billion USD; 6.5 billion USD; 10.9 billion USD; 19.1 billion USD). The signing of Free Trade Agreements has brought positive signals to the Viet Nam economy, especially the Free Trade Agreement between Viet Nam and the EU (EVFTA). In 2020, exports to the EU reached 34.8 billion USD; notably, after 5 months of implementation (from August 1st , 2020), Viet Nam’s total export turnover to the EU reached 15.4 billion USD, up 1.6% over the same period last year[3]. This reflects the high growth of domestic production capacity, favorable investment, production and business environment, and the success of Viet Nam international economic integration process. This is an encouraging result in the context of a serious economic decline in the EU region and continues to face the complicated Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides the growth results achieved in 2020, the Viet Nam economy still has many problems that need to be resolved. With the large openness and deeper international integration, all fluctuations of the world economy affect our country’s socio-economic fields. Although the Covid-19 has been controlled in Viet Nam, but still complicated in the world, production, supply and circulation trade, aviation, tourism, labor and employment were delayed and disrupted. In addition, the export growth has not ensured its sustainability, the labor productivity is still low … Therefore, our country needs to focus on implementing the dual goal of “both effective prevention of diseases, and well taking advantage of opportunities, efforts to recover and develop socio-economic in a new normal state ”; at the same time maximizing potentials and advantages to bring the economy to the highest growth rate in 2021.

[1] According to GDP re-evaluated.

[2] The world economy outlook of IMF released on 13/10/2020.

[3] Source: Ministry of Industry and Trade.