May 19, 2019

On 6 October 2011, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University-Hanoi (USSH HN) and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Vietnam (RLF) held a workshop on “The role of state enterprises and private ones in maintaining the growth in the context of the financial crisis”.

The speakers focused especially on the role of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in both countries. They discussed how the sometimes contrary goals of state enterprises can be combined, as SOEs do not only have to work efficient and profitable, but also have functions in the support of public welfare by guaranteeing cheap and high-quality services available to all. While in Germany SOEs are more an exception and focus mostly on branches central to public welfare such as housing, energy and health care, the state sector in Vietnam still plays the central role and SOEs function as “iron fists” of the socialist market economy, creating jobs, contributing to the state-household and supplying diverse kinds of goods and services. The speakers discussed how SOEs can work economically efficient while still maintaining their social role. This means first of all, how public control and monitoring can be assured and financial risks averted. Considering efficiency, the question arose, how many SOEs are needed and in which sectors. Ideas were proposed to streamline and consolidate the Vietnamese state-sector, and how SOEs can be transformed into private enterprises, maintaining the participation of workers in this process. Considering a growing private sector in Vietnam, the importance of rules for the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was emphasized, as FDI is currently driving the economy, but several constraints have emerged. For example, the lack of state-wide rules leads to a “race to the bottom” in wages and labour standards. Also, mostly raw materials are being extracted by foreign companies, but not refined, and therefore the supporting industries do not develop as fast, causing a large trade imbalance. Finally, one presentation commented on difficulties with international property law in terms of brand names concerning the privatization, and another presentation emphasized the role of civil society in the transformation process, contributing experiences from China.
The workshop is part of the dialogue on “Alternative Left Theory” that takes place since 2010, where the USSH HN and the RLF jointly contribute to the search for alternatives to a purely capitalist and growth-oriented development and for a contemporary modern socialism.

The presentations were as follows:


Key note Vũ Khoan
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam
Key note:
State owned and private sector in Viet Nam
Dr. Lê Đăng Doanh
Senior Consultant of the Vietnamese Government on Economy
Normative requirements and practical experiences at controlling public businesses at federal state level in Germany with the state of Berlin as an example
Prof. Dr. Benjamin Hoff
Permanent Secretary of the Berlin Senate Department for Health, the Environment and Consumer Protection
Sharing experiences on the role of enterprises in economic development
Dr. Nguyễn Trọng Hiệu
Deputy Director General, Enterprise Development Agency, Ministry of Planning and Investment
Comment on the speakers Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phạm Bích San
Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations
Innovating policies for attracting FDI towards self-development of domestic enterprises
Asst. Prof. Dr. Trần Đình Thiên
Director, Institute of Vietnam Economy, Vietnam Academy of Social Science
Some issues regarding the development of state enterprises in Vietnam
Dr. Trần Kim Hào
Central Institute for Economic Management
Mistakes of strategic control and governance of public businesses against the background of the collapse of the Sachsen Landesbank
Sebastian Scheel
Board of Governors SAB (Saxony Development Bank) vicemember
(Presented by Volker Bellgart, research assistant of the RLF Hanoi)
The role and effect of civil society in economic development
MA. Zhao Daxing
Deputy Executive Director, China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO)
Comments on the speakers Prof. Dr. Lê NgọcHùng
Institute of Sociology, HCM National Academy of Politics and Public Administration
Some remarks on the dialogue Nadja Charaby
Director, RLF Vietnam
Closing speech Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Kim
Vice Rector, USSH HN

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