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Visas: Obtaining a visa is easy and quick.
Health risks: Dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, rabies, typhoid, tuberculosis and a minor threat (especially to pregnant women) of dioxins found in the defoliant Agent Orange. Vietnam, while not as bad as most of Asia, does suffer from water and air pollution. It is also not advisable to rent or operate any vehicle in Vietnam, as traffic does not give right away to pedestrians or each other. Traffic is always extremely chaotic.

Vietnam Stats and General Information
 

 
Introduction Vietnam
Background:

The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Independence was declared after World War II, but the French continued to rule until 1954 when they were defeated by Communist forces under Ho Chi Minh, who took control of the North. Then the USA got deeply involved in the over throw of the Vietnam political system and provided millions in economic and military aid to South Vietnam. Being unsuccessful in this endeavor the US then decided to provide direct military involvement. The US poured it's military hardware and soldiers into this poor small country, which grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster their puppet government. This insane war between a super power, along with their numerous allies, and a small backward country was a bloody and murderous ordeal that lasted for 15+ years. When the US realized that even with their immense power that they could not win the war the US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. This led to the collapse of the South's political system and the North Vietnamese forces led by the much loved Ho Chi Minh easily overran the South. Despite the return of peace for over two decades the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies. Since 2001 the Vietnamese authorities have committed to economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The country continues to experience tremendous liberalization and economical growth and doesn't harbor any ill feelings to their previous invaders. Some minor protests remain from the Montagnard ethnic minority population of the Central Highlands over loss of land to Vietnamese settlers and religious isolation.

 
Geography Vietnam
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
Area: 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: territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
contiguous zone: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 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: Fan Si Pan 3,144 m
Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 19.97%
permanent crops: 5.95%
other: 74.08% (2001)
Irrigated land: 30,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point
 
People Vietnam
Population: 95,689,518 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.4% (male 12,524,098; female 11,807,763)
15-64 years: 65% (male 26,475,156; female 27,239,543)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 1,928,568; female 2,714,390) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 24.9 years
male: 24 years
female: 25.9 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.3% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 19.58 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 6.14 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 29.88 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 33.71 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.35 years
male: 67.86 years
female: 73.02 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.22 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 220,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 9,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese
Ethnic groups: Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese, Hmong, Thai, Khmer, Cham, mountain groups
Religions: Buddhist, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christian (predominantly Roman Catholic, some Protestant), indigenous beliefs, Muslim
Languages: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.3%
male: 93.9%
female: 86.9% (2002)
 
Government Vietnam
Country name: conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
conventional short form: Vietnam
local long form: Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam
abbreviation: SRV
local short form: Viet Nam
Government type: Communist state
Capital: Hanoi
Administrative divisions:

59 provinces (tinh, singular and plural) and 5 municipalities (thu do, singular and plural): provinces: An Giang, Bac Giang, Bac Kan, Bac Lieu, Bac Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Cao Bang, Dac Lak, Dac Nong, Dien Bien, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Giang, Hai Duong, Ha Nam, Ha Tay, Ha Tinh, Hau Giang, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kon Tum, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Long An, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Tho, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phuc, Yen Bai: municipalities: Can Tho, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh

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) 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 Vu Khoan (8 August 2002) 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
election results: Tran Duc Luong elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA. elections: president elected by the National Assembly from among its members for a five-year term; election last held 25 July 2002 (next to be held when National Assembly meets following legislative elections in 2007); prime minister appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers appointed by the prime minister
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Quoc-Hoi (498 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) election results: percent of vote by party - CPV 90%, other 10% (the 10% are not CPV members but are approved by the CPV to stand for election); seats by party - CPV 447, CPV-approved 51 elections: last held 19 May 2002 (next to be held 2007)
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 or CPV [Nong Duc Manh, general secretary]
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: ACCT (observer), APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Nguyen Tam Chien
chancery: 1233 20th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036 consulate(s) general: San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 861-0917 telephone: [1] (202) 861-0737       
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Michael W. MARINE
embassy: 7 Lang Ha Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi; Mailing address: PSC 461, Box 400, FPO AP 96521-0002
telephone: [84] (4) 772-1500
FAX: [84] (4) 772-1510
consulate(s) general: Ho Chi Minh City
Flag description: red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center
 
Economy Vietnam
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 was achieved from 1986 to 1996 in moving forward from an extremely low starting point - growth averaged around 9% per year from 1993 to 1997. The 1997 Asian financial crisis highlighted the problems in the Vietnamese economy, but rather than prompting reform, reaffirmed the government's belief that shifting to a market-oriented economy would lead to disaster. GDP growth of 8.5% in 1997 fell to 6% in 1998 and 5% in 1999. Growth then rose to 6% to 7% in 2000-02 even against the background of global recession. These numbers mask some major difficulties in economic performance. Many domestic industries, including coal, cement, steel, and paper, have reported large stockpiles of inventory and tough competition from more efficient foreign producers. Since the Party elected new leadership in 2001, Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic liberalization and have moved to implement the structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement entered into force near the end of 2001 and is expected to significantly increase Vietnam's exports to the US. The US is assisting Vietnam with implementing the legal and structural reforms called for in the agreement.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $203.7 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 7.2% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,500 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 21.8%
industry: 39.7%
services: 38.5% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 33% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line: 37% (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 29.9% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 36.1 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.1% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 45.74 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 63%, industry and services 37% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6.1% (2003 est.)
Budget: revenues: $8.689 billion
expenditures: $9.718 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.8 billion (2003 est.)
Public debt: 64.3% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products: paddy rice, corn, potatoes, rubber, soybeans, coffee, tea, bananas, sugar; poultry, pigs, fish
Industries: food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, coal, steel, paper
Industrial production growth rate: 16% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production: 29.8 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 27.71 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 356,700 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 185,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 1.4 billion bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production: 1.3 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 1.3 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 192.6 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance: $-1.781 billion (2003)
Exports: $19.88 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, shoes
Exports - partners: US 21.9%, Japan 13.8%, Australia 6.8%, China 6.5%, Germany 5.8%, Singapore 4.6%, UK 4.4% (2003)
Imports: $22.5 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel products, raw cotton, grain, cement, motorcycles
Imports - partners: China 13.7%, Taiwan 11.4%, Japan 11.3%, South Korea 11%, Singapore 10.4%, US 5.7%, Thailand 5.4%, Hong Kong 4.2% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $6.357 billion (2003)
Debt - external: $14.69 billion (2003)
Economic aid - recipient: $2.8 billion in credits and grants pledged by international donors for 2000 (2004)
Currency: dong (VND)
Currency code: VND
Exchange rates: dong per US dollar - 15,279.5 (2003), 15,279.5 (2002), 14,725.2 (2001), 14,167.7 (2000), 13,943.2 (1999)
Fiscal year: calendar year
 
Communications Vietnam
Telephones - main lines in use: 4.402 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 2.742 million (2003)
Telephone system:

general assessment: Vietnam is putting considerable effort into modernization and expansion of its telecommunication system, but its performance continues to lag behind that of its more modern neighbors domestic: all provincial exchanges are digitalized and connected to Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City by fiber-optic cable or microwave radio relay networks; main lines have been substantially increased, and the use of mobile telephones is growing rapidly international: country code - 84; satellite earth stations - 2 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 65, FM 7, shortwave 29 (1999)
Radios: 8.2 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: at least 7 (plus 13 repeaters) (1998)
Televisions: 3.57 million (1997)
Internet country code: .vn
Internet hosts: 340 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2000)
Internet users: 3.5 million (2003)
 
Transportation Vietnam
Railways: total: 2,600 km
standard gauge: 178 km 1.435-m gauge
dual gauge: 253 km three-rail track combining 1.435-m and 1.000-m gauges (2003)
narrow gauge: 2,169 km 1.000-m gauge
Highways: total: 93,300 km
paved: 23,418 km
unpaved: 69,882 km (1999 est.)
Waterways: 17,702 km (5,000 km navigable by vessels up to 1.8 m draft) (2004)
Pipelines: condensate/gas 432 km; gas 210 km; oil 3 km; refined products 206 km (2004)
Ports and harbors: Cam Ranh, Da Nang, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Vinh, Vung Tau
Merchant marine: total: 194 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,170,621 GRT/1,798,376 DWT. registered in other countries: 11 (2004 est.)
by type: bulk 16, cargo 135, chemical tanker 1, container 8, liquefied gas 4, petroleum tanker 25, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1. foreign-owned: Cambodia 1, Germany 1, Japan 2, South Korea 1, United Kingdom 3
Airports: 19 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 16
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
 
Military Vietnam
Military branches: People's Army of Vietnam: Ground Forces, People's Navy Command (including Naval Infantry), Air and Air Defense Force, Coast Guard
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (2004)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 23,438,858 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 14,694,574 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 853,197 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $650 million (FY98)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.5% (FY98)

The above information is posted from the CIA World Facts as a service to our readers and we make no claims to it's authenticity or factuality.

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