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The continued ballooning of the public sector and a decentralised governance framework also contribute to public investment without adequate accountability and oversight. Local governments have in turn aggressively pursued investment, especially FDI. Importantly, these contemporary policy challenges — namely, the dominance of SOEs and low quality of public investment — have emerged as a consequence of historical restructuring strategies. Initial fence breaking efforts to introduce prices and markets were successful in large part because they expanded the authority of local officials and affiliated SOEs.

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As a result, local interests played an important role in persuading central planners that their illicit trade and other prohibited activities could be safely sanctioned and successfully expanded without radically undermining the prevailing political economy. For example, as central planning receded, local governments acquired more responsibilities, which because of budget constraints and a reliance on access fees, led to the empowerment of local SOEs to raise revenues, raise financing for, and develop infrastructure and other politically connected projects.

However, progress is being made. A new Law on Public Investment introduced in has instituted stronger controls on local government budgeting.

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Provincial governments now have debt ceilings, although they remain in control of how much and from where they can borrow outside this. At the same time, however, Vietnam has seen productivity fall, with the largest falls in the domestic private sector. Many export-oriented sectors have limited links to domestic suppliers or service providers.

In the case of Vietnam, these features may become especially pronounced because it has derived much of its competitiveness from taxation, investment facilitation, and low labour costs. The garment and footwear sectors, the second- and third-largest export sectors, demonstrate how large exports and trade surpluses do not always mean commensurate levels of domestic value added. Few aphorisms better encapsulate the challenge of broadening the economy to address the missing middle. Addressing the missing middle is not as simple as empowering a downtrodden private sector. Vietnam has never had an influential domestic commercial class, and the implementation of selected market institutions has reflected the priorities of those within the state.

Many, for example, point to evidence that domestic enterprises lacked the competitiveness to benefit from greater exposure to international economic forces. An estimate of its gains from prospective tariff elimination was 6. As a result, selling TPP domestically will become more difficult.

The rules would have provided preferential treatment for goods with inputs sourced from TPP countries or within Vietnam. This would have helped bring in high levels of investment from suppliers seeking to take advantage of the new rules. Finally, the TPP would also require Vietnam, perhaps conveniently, to reduce its support to SOEs and introduce new public procurement practices.

Other changes including those related to intellectual property were slated to be accompanied by US technical assistance for Vietnam. Australian officials believe there are opportunities for Australian businesses to grow their market share in the agriculture, education, energy, financial services, and tourism sectors. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, there are more than 22 Vietnamese students in Australia, the fourth-largest group of foreign students. Food is integral to Vietnamese local culture, and there is rapidly growing demand for high-end beef, wine, and dairy, with Australian produce enjoying strong in-market recognition among increasingly affluent consumers.

There is also a considerable Vietnamese diaspora in Australia. According to the Census, nearly people reported speaking Vietnamese at home, and of the 40 per cent of Australians born overseas, 3. Long-held community disapproval of business or commercial ties to Vietnam within the diaspora — unsurprising given many Vietnamese—Australians emigrated as refugees — are beginning to fade among younger Vietnamese—Australians and with new generations of migrants.

Both countries also have an established relationship with key economic and strategic player Japan, which has emerged as the new coordinator of efforts to revive the TPP agreement. Vietnam and Australia concluded an Enhanced Comprehensive Partnership in , and the bilateral relationship includes strong development, education and training, and defence ties. A range of factors helped Vietnam to attract investment and boost exports, including: a competitive investment regime; trade liberalisation; engagement with the international economic system; political stability; and low labour costs.

The path of economic restructuring has been pragmatic and omnivorous. Its economic planners avoided debates about capitalism and instead justified the introduction of markets as a way of encouraging greater production and trade. The productivity and share of domestic value of Vietnamese firms has actually declined as its economic integration has increased.

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Addressing this is the primary economic challenge for Vietnamese policymakers today. Efforts must be made to ensure domestic players also capture a slice of the gains. Vietnam has a history of leveraging engagement with the international economic system — including joining the WTO and signing major FTAs — to support difficult domestic restructuring. These have been more pretext than driving force; many in Vietnam would note that far more laws and regulations were passed than were technically required to meet its WTO commitments.

Most importantly, at a time of rising global protectionism, Vietnam continues to look outward in a unique way. Even without a favourable outcome among the remaining eleven TPP signatories, however, the Vietnamese system would be likely to push forward with creative and incremental ways of importing and cementing change. Vietnam regularly impresses with its resourcefulness on the world stage — illustrated by the successful visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Washington, the first Southeast Asian leader to call on President Trump.

Thank you to all of the experts and practitioners who met with me throughout the course of my research, both in Vietnam and Australia.

Your assistance and networks were invaluable, as were the conversations I was fortunate to have with your knowledgeable and professional staff. I am also grateful to three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. All mistakes in the text remain mine. Its income levels are near the bottom of what is considered middle income, and many of its citizens are entering the middle class for the first time. In terms of human capital, great progress has been made to promote education, especially in science and mathematics. Total trade is slightly higher at per cent of GDP.

Exports are oriented towards a home or third market. Other major exports include textiles and garments 12 per cent , computers and electronics and spare parts The poverty line was updated when Vietnam reached middle-income status, and therefore poverty statistics are lumpy in the past decade.


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In , on a new headcount baseline, the poverty rate was 9. In the overall rankings, based on mathematics and science results, Vietnam was 12th, behind the Netherlands, Canada, and Poland, respectively.

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The United States ranked joint 28th. What this goal requires is a new executive state institution, what in a previous draft was called a National Strategic Reform and Reconciliation Committee and what in newer drafts has become the National Strategy Committee. The Thai military seizing power is, in and of itself, not unique. This time however, and the death of King Bhumibol must be remembered here, the Thai junta may be doing something different. However, by stepping out of the shadows so obviously, the Thai military has broken the first rule of the deep state—deep means quiet and invisible.

Investors are likely flustered by these recent differences in the Thai military's behaviour. From January 1st , out of the seven categories of incentives that Thailand's BoI organises business activity into, around 80 activities within these categories will end—making up close to half of all in incentivised activities Jayasinghe Asia in a Borderless World , 13 March Shangrila Hotel, Bangkok.

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The junta state of Thailand does not seem worried by the recent drop in foreign investment, and is committed to the previous solution and the problem that it is aimed at resolving. Nor is Thailand's BoI worried by these figures, the analysis of the problem, nor the solutions. In conversation with senior officials at the BoI, they stated: 6 6 Interview with senior officials at Thailand's Board of Investment, Bangkok, August Thailand has become highly developed over 20 years.

Now we want to attract advanced technology industries. We give incentives for the ones who can invest with businesses who have things we need. But it is time to change our policy. If we give incentives then the country is losing something it could get. So we are now thinking we should be more selective about what we give away. Thailand is in a very precarious economic position. It has not only been demonstrated here that conceptualising FDI into Thailand in this way has the potential to generate explanations for the changing trends in foreign investment from Japan into the kingdom but also that key features of the Thai state and its role in the economy of Thailand have become more nascent.

That is, not only do existing academic notions of a deep state apply cogently to Thailand, these notions must also be complemented with a globalist explanation of state behaviour. This aids in understanding not only what the Thai state is but also to understand at what times it is more or less likely to spur to action or inaction. Japan's relationship with Thailand is not particularly attuned to liberal whims and democratic reason.

These similarities are indeed the grease upon the rails of Japan's highly prized and close economic relationship with Thailand, and both countries share common historical modern developmental features that are well understood by Thai and Japanese power brokers in Thailand today. Nevertheless, changes in Thailand in recent years have been more dramatic than usual and, coupled with wider regional changes, mean the relationship will be tested.

It is not predicted that the significance of the Japan—Thailand relationship will diminish anytime soon.

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  7. If that happens, then Thailand's currently powerful but possibly future diminished position in the Mekong and within ASEAN may need to become a question for further study. Volume 4 , Issue 3. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username.

    Original Article Open Access. Ryan Hartley Corresponding Author E-mail address: ryanhartley tohoku. Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation.

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    Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Abstract This article centres on the nature of the Thai state amid a shifting global economic environment, examining it through the lens of foreign direct investment and specifically Japan's declining foreign direct into the kingdom since McCargo , p. Ungpakorn Figure 1 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Figure 2 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint.

    Figure 3 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Source: adapted from Yoshida , p. Figure 4 Open in figure viewer PowerPoint. Data source: Board of Investment, Thailand.