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Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia

Geographic coordinates: 16 00 N, 106 00 E

Map references: Southeast Asia

total: 329,560 sq km
land: 325,360 sq km
water: 4,200 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries:
total: 4,639 km
border countries: Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km

Coastline: 3,444 km (excludes islands)

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)

Terrain: low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Ngoc Linh 3,143 m

Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests

Land use:
arable land: 17%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 1%
forests and woodland: 30%
other: 48% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 18,600 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding

Environment—current issues: logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

Environment—international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban


Population: 76,236,259 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 35% (male 13,570,312; female 12,796,687)
15-64 years: 60% (male 22,222,286; female 23,621,122)
65 years and over: 5% (male 1,613,103; female 2,412,749) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.43% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 21.55 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.69 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 36.02 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.74 years
male: 65.37 years
female: 70.25 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.5 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese

Ethnic groups: Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese 3%, Muong, Tai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham

Religions: Buddhist, Taoist, Roman Catholic, indigenous beliefs, Islam, Protestant, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao

Languages: Vietnamese (official), Chinese, English, French, Khmer, tribal languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 96.5%
female: 91.2% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
conventional short form: Vietnam
local long form: Cong Hoa Chu Nghia Viet Nam
local short form: Viet Nam
abbreviation: SRV

Data code: VM

Government type: Communist state

National capital: Hanoi

Administrative divisions: 50 provinces (tinh, singular and plural), 3 municipalities* (thu do, singular and plural); An Giang, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Bac Thai, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Can Tho, Cao Bang, Dac Lac, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Bac, Ha Giang, Ha Noi*, Ha Tay, Ha Tinh, Hai Hung, Hai Phong*, Ho Chi Minh*, Hoa Binh, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kon Tum, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Long An, Minh Hai, Nam Ha, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam-Da Nang, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La, Song Be, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phu, Yen Bai note: eight existing provinces (Bac Thai, Ha Bac, Hai Hung, Minh Hai, Nam Ha, Quang Nam-Da Nang, Song Be, and Vinh Phu) may have been abolished and from their territory 15 new provinces and one new municipality* (Bac Can, Bac Giang, Bac Lieu, Bac Ninh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Ca Mau, Da Nang City*, Ha Nam, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Nam Dinh, Phu Tho, Quang Nam, Thai Nguyen, and Vinh Phuc) may have been created

Independence: 2 September 1945 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 2 September (1945)

Constitution: 15 April 1992

Legal system: based on communist legal theory and French civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Tran Duc LUONG (since 24 September 1997) and Vice President Nguyen Thi BINH (since NA October 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister Phan Van KHAI (since 25 September 1997); First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan DUNG (since 29 September 1997); Deputy Prime Ministers Nguyen Cong TAN (since 29 September 1997), Ngo Xuan LOC (since 29 September 1997), Nguyen Manh CAM (since 29 September 1997), and Pham Gia KHIEM (since 29 September 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister and ratification of the National Assembly
elections: president elected by the National Assembly from among its members for a five-year term; election last held 25 September 1997 (next to be held when National Assembly meets following legislative elections in NA 2002); prime minister appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers appointed by the prime minister
election results: Tran Duc LUONG elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Quoc-Hoi (450 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 20 July 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party—CPV 92%, other 8% (the 8% are not CPV members but are approved by the CPV to stand for election); seats by party—CPV or CPV-approved 450

Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court, chief justice is elected for a five-year term by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president

Political parties and leaders: only party—Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), Le Kha PHIEU, general secretary

International organization participation: will become a member at the next APEC meeting in the fall of 1998, ACCT, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador LE VAN BANG
chancery: 1233 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036, Suite 501
telephone: [1] (202) 861-0737
FAX: [1] (202) 861-0917

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Douglas "Pete" Peterson
embassy: 7 Lang Ha Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 400, FPO AP 96521-0002
telephone: [84] (4) 8431500
FAX: [84] (4) 8350484 or 8431510

Flag description: red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center


Economy—overview: Vietnam is a poor, densely populated country that has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally planned economy. Substantial progress has been achieved over the past 10 years in moving forward from an extremely low starting point. Economic growth continued at a strong pace during 1997 with industrial output rising by 12% and real GDP expanding by 8.5%. These positive numbers, however, masked some major difficulties that are emerging in economic performance. Many domestic industries, including coal, cement, steel, and paper, reported large stockpiles of inventory and tough competition from more efficient foreign producers, giving Vietnam a trade deficit of $3.3 billion in 1997. While disbursements of aid and foreign direct investment have risen, they are not large enough to finance the rapid increase in imports; and it is widely believed that Vietnam may be using short-term trade credits to bridge the gap—a risky strategy that could result in a foreign exchange crunch. Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities continue to move slowly toward implementing the structural reforms needed to revitalize the economy and produce more competitive, export-driven industries. Privatization of state enterprises remains bogged down in political controversy, while the country's dynamic private sector is denied both financing and access to markets. Reform of the banking sector is proceeding slowly, raising concerns that the country will be unable to tap sufficient domestic savings to maintain current high levels of growth. Administrative and legal barriers are also causing costly delays for foreign investors and are raising similar doubts about Vietnam's ability to maintain the inflow of foreign capital. Ideological bias in favor of state intervention and control of the economy is slowing progress toward a more liberalized investment environment.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$128 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 8.5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,700 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 28%
industry: 30%
services: 42% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 5% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 32.7 million
by occupation: agriculture 65%, industry and services 35% (1990 est.)

Unemployment rate: 25% (1995 est.)

revenues: $5.6 billion
expenditures: $6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.7 billion (1996 est.)

Industries: food processing, garments, shoes, machine building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil

Industrial production growth rate: 12% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 5.32 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 12.3 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 165 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: paddy rice, corn, potatoes, rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas; poultry, pigs; fish

total value: $7.1 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, shoes
partners: Japan, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, France, South Korea

total value: $11.1 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel products, raw cotton, grain, cement, motorcycles
partners: Singapore, South Korea, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan

Debt—external: $7.3 billion Western countries; $4.5 billion CEMA debts primarily to Russia; $9 billion to $18 billion nonconvertible debt (former CEMA, Iraq, Iran)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA b note: $2.4 billion in credits and grants pledged by international donors for 1997

Currency: 1 new dong (D) = 100 xu

Exchange rates: new dong (D) per US$1—12,300 (January 1998), 11,100 (December 1996), 11,193 (1995 average), 11,000 (October 1994), 10,800 (November 1993), 8,100 (July 1991)


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