By  on February 2, 2010

DAVOS, Switzerland — The economy of Vietnam is projected to bounce back this year and grow 7 percent, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said.

Vietnam’s economy in the fourth quarter of 2009 grew 6.9 percent, Nguyen said. Despite the global economic crisis, the economy still expanded 5.3 percent last year, compared with 6.2 percent in 2008.

The prime minister told reporters at the annual World Economic Forum meeting here last week that “signs of recovery are very clear.” In 2009, Vietnam attracted $21 billion in foreign direct investment, he said.

Major investor countries included Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany. Nguyen said the total stock of investment from 80 countries and territories was valued at $190 billion and had been spent in 11,000 projects. Total investment in the Southeast Asian nation of 72 million people accounted for 42.8 percent of gross domestic product, an increase of 15.3 percent over 2008, he said.

Asked if the government was worried about some of the foreign investments relocating to lower-cost destinations in South Asia, Nguyen said that “is one of our concerns,” but added, with Vietnam’s open investment policy, the country remains an attractive destination.

“I have strong confidence Vietnam will be able to keep the foreign investment and attract more,” he said.

Nguyen said bilateral trade with Mainland China reached $21 billion in 2009, up 6 percent for the year, and projected trade flows between the two nations this year could reach $25 billion. Exports to the U.S., which in previous years posted strong gains, dropped 9 percent.

The International Textiles & Clothing Bureau estimated that, in the first 11 months of 2009, exports of textiles and apparel from Vietnam to the U.S. reached $5.3 billion, down 2 percent for the same period a year earlier, ranking Vietnam as the second biggest U.S. supplier after China. ITCB analysts said the drop by Vietnam was limited considering total U.S. imports of textiles and apparel fell 14 percent during the period.

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