The workshop was structured around a set of joint research activities, supported by Danida under the Vietnam-Denmark Business Sector Programme Support (BSPS) and the Poverty Reduction Grant (PRG) of Danida that is helping strengthen the research and policy analysis capacity of CIEM. The workshop covered topics like macroeconomic modelling, trade integration and survey based studies of small and medium scale private manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam. Plans for the future were also discussed, including a rural household survey.
The workshop was opened by the President of CIEM, Dr. Dinh Van An and H.E. Ambassador Peter Lysholt Hansen. More than 100 Vietnamese researchers and experts from Government agencies as well as international partners participated. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Lysholt Hansen noted that:
“Danida is keen to support the development of a thriving private business sector that can sustain Vietnam’s impressive growth and poverty reduction. Concise knowledge of the dynamics of the business sector is of the outmost importance to Vietnam’s decisions makers and donors alike. The research that is shared with us today shows that a) institutional reforms are key to Vietnam's international economic integration, b) Vietnam’s reforms in the area of business sector development are effective but more needs to be done, and c) growth and poverty reduction is something that all Vietnam’s provinces benefit from but there are provincial variations that need to be understood. Very encouragingly the number of enterprise registrations continues to accelerate across provinces”.
The different themes of the workshop were covered by researchers from CIEM and the University of Copenhagen. A first session of the workshop focused on International Economic Integration. This part of the workshop discussed some of the trade policy dilemmas facing Vietnam in relation to the WTO accession process. This session also went over some of the lessons that can be drawn from Vietnam’s recent experience with implementation of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. In a direct follow up to this discussion, the merits of alternative analytical methods for studying trade liberalization took centre stage.
The second session of the workshop was dedicated to research on Vietnam’s small and medium scale private sector manufacturers. The first part of the session included a presentation of a paper on SME growth and survival in Vietnam, which is being published in an international journal. This presentation was followed by the presentation of another internationally published paper about credit constraints in the Vietnamese Enterprise sector. Both of these contributions are based on a survey that was implemented by ILSSA in 2002. The workshop then went over some of the preliminary results of the 2005 CIEM/ILSSA/DOE SME survey that has been rolled-out under the BSPS.
The third session of the workshop was dedicated to economic modelling and macro-economic projections. The workshop went through a macroeconomic projection framework for Vietnam, which has been developed by researchers at the University of Copenhagen and CIEM. The model was applied to the Government’s five year plan, under different scenarios.
The BSPS is being implemented in four provinces, and the household and SME surveys, which form the backbone of component five of the BSPS, are carried out in a total of 10 provinces. Progress on socio-economic profiles of these provinces was the theme of the final session of the workshop before discussing plans for the future and the closing remarks of the President of CIEM, Dr. Dinh Van An, President of CIEM. He stressed that this workshop is one of a series of workshops organized by the project. Future workshops will present and review the results of the many different policy relevant studies carried out by the Danida-CIEM project.