Is Vietnam suitable for heavy industry development?

Former General Secretary Do Muoi is a long-time Party and State leader, he has directly managed and directed works at the strategic level of the country for many years, especially issues related to industrialization and modernization of the country. Until now, at the age of 90 (he was born in 1917), he is still enthusiastic, concerned and on the occasion of the beginning of 2007, we had the opportunity to conduct a short interview with him.

– Reporter: Comrades, in the past, our Party and State had the policy: Prioritize the development of heavy industry in a reasonable way…, in the current situation, when our country has joined the WTO, increasing international integration, the division of labor and production of goods and services will have changes. So, how will the problem of proactively building heavy industry in the above spirit be perceived to suit the country’s reality and the modern international context?


– Nguyen TBT TEN: Many years in leadership, management and practical experience, I am deeply aware that the essence of industrialization is to replace manual production with machines to achieve high productivity, low cost, great socio-economic efficiency. Obviously, to achieve that goal, there must be heavy industry to produce the means of production to equip the national economy (heavy industry, light industry, agriculture, transportation, information technology). information and equipment for the cultural, educational, medical, defense industries…).

Dear Uncle Ho himself also pointed out: Because of imperialist and feudal oppression, our Vietnam does not develop heavy technology and technology (Complete Ho Chi Minh, July, National Political Publishing House 1996, pp. 208). ). Uncle used the word Heavy Technology with today’s meanings: electricity, mechanical engineering, mechatronics, chemical industry, metallurgy… and right from the time when our country won independence, Uncle established it. That is, the policy must soon have a strategy in this field to strengthen itself and get rid of enslavement and dependence.

Former General Secretary Do Muoi is talking with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Thanh Binh.

Society has more and more needs for machinery, especially after we joined the WTO to open up the Vietnamese market.

Take a look around, there are machines everywhere: on the street, there are cars, motorbikes, construction cranes…, in the house, there are air conditioners, refrigerators, phones, cameras…, which means is that in human life, there is a need to use machines more and more and modern, as a result, to have equipment, machines must have mechanics (heavy mechanics, precision mechanics, mechatronics…) , steel, chemicals, other materials, ie heavy industrial construction.

We call and encourage foreign investment, but they invest very little in heavy industry production. Why? Simply because investment in heavy industry requires a lot of capital, it takes a long time to recover, the sale of machinery and equipment is more profitable, on the other hand, the invested country will be able to produce important goods on its own. , which is essential thanks to heavy industry so that it can compete with the investing country itself. In addition, if foreign countries do not invest in heavy industry for the host country, the host country often has to import goods from abroad, will be passive and dependent

Previously, when visiting foreign countries, I suggested manufacturing companies related to heavy mechanics, precision mechanics, mechatronics, shipbuilding to invest in Vietnam, but they were not interested. However, there are also a few investors, but they only produce export components and repair ships without paying attention to machine manufacturing. In short, heavy industry is not merely an economic issue but a larger issue: it is independence and self-reliance, it is the country’s position in the integration period. Of course, any country that has just entered industrialization and built a heavy industry will also face many difficulties in terms of capital, management experience, equipment, and technical workers. No country can produce all equipment by itself (except for a few large countries) and no country is passive, importing all machinery and equipment for use.

In today’s international economic conditions, in fact, there are many modern industrial products produced by many countries and transnational companies. Certainly, when joining the WTO, that is easier to happen. Therefore, depending on circumstances, geography, international position, vision, national pride…, each country should choose to develop a strategy of heavy industry to suit itself. It is also the rationality of heavy industry development under new conditions. Let’s give an example in the case of Korea, because of the correct policy on heavy industry, they are very thrifty to accumulate capital and effectively use their own capital and loans from many sources, so within more than 30 years, they had a very strong heavy industry, produced high-tech and precision machinery, equipment, and made many products that were sold around the world such as steel, chemicals, necessary materials, umbrellas, etc. cars, refrigerators, televisions, cell phones, shipbuilding. The brands Daewoo, Hyundai, Samsung… gradually gain a foothold in the international market. Today, Korea is a country with the 10th largest economy in the world. 

  • When it comes to industrialization and construction of heavy industry, it is necessary to mention the worker factor, who is always interested in workers’ life, can you give your opinion on their rights in the current period? now and in the future?
  • – It must be said right away that the process of industrialization and development of heavy industry is also the process of developing a team of regular workers to modernize, first of all, technical workers, increasing the position of the workforce. . The intellectualization of workers, together with ensuring economic benefits, improving living standards to adapt to industrialization and modernization is an urgent requirement. Our long-term goals are: Rich people, strong country, fair, democratic and civilized society; The construction of heavy industry, rapid and steady promotion of industrialization and modernization is to serve the above goal. Improving the lives of all classes of people, including workers, economic growth must go hand in hand with social justice, which is also the realization of that strategic and long-term goal. Currently, the State advocates the equitization of state-owned enterprises; In today’s society, many businesses are born, enterprises gradually take a worthy position in the economy. 
  • Enterprises, including enterprises in the fields of industry and heavy industry, if they have the right development direction, can train highly skilled workers, actively apply advanced scientific and technological achievements, and build With a brand name of guaranteed quality goods, with a stable market, high profits will be obtained, and workers’ and workers’ lives will be continuously improved, both materially and spiritually. As early as 1947, President Ho Chi Minh signed and promulgated Decree No. 29-SL, dated March 12, 1947, clearly stipulating in Article 9: To encourage workers in industry and commerce, it is possible to define for workers to participate in the annual profit sharing. Right from that time, Uncle Ho looked very far and understood the issue of workers’ rights. After producing goods, it is necessary to calculate transparently the expenditure from capital, the depreciation from machinery, labor, the accumulated part for extended reproduction and then convert the goods and the above-mentioned things into money, The profit will be deducted from the received amount, the profit will be made, the profit will be divided between the enterprise and the employees according to the provisions of the contract. Currently, it is common to divide profits by shares (for state-owned enterprises, according to preference shares for employees) so that everyone who owns shares can enjoy dividends. Therefore, the state needs to have policies so that workers can enjoy the rights according to the law, including buying shares, insurance and other social security benefits, so as not to lose… –

 What forecast do you have for the growth of Vietnam’s heavy industry? – I believe that: In the future, our country will have heavy industries developed commensurate with the needs of the country and Vietnam’s stature in the region. These are industries such as shipbuilding industry – because our country has more than 3,000km of coastline, many places can combine the construction of deep-water ports, harbor areas, and warehouses for the movement of goods in international transit, developing to develop the petrochemical refining industry, to build a factory to manufacture equipment to equip agriculture, light industry, transportation, and construction; develop service and management industries in the fields of heavy industry and defense industry. In terms of mechatronics, we can continue to manufacture personal computers, some specialized components, manufacture cell phones, new generation machines for multimedia communication… With a country Hundreds of millions of people must pay special attention to the electricity industry, steel production and machine building. The problem is that it takes time for us to implement the correct, feasible and effective strategic guidelines of the Party – the State; other factors that need to be met are: well-prepared, timely, well-trained resources; employees absorb and absorb both theory and practice from within the process of implementing science and technology transfer from foreign partners; accumulation of all kinds of capital: not only financial capital, intellectual capital, management capital, experience of the process of industrialization itself but also social awareness; discovering, fostering, and employing a team of patriots, educated, big-minded people, or anyone with outstanding talent, all of them must have learning, real talent, practicality, enough all strength, all heart, all talent, vision, bravery, and responsibility (the more people like Le Quy Don, Nguyen Truong To, Bui Vien, Nguyen Lo Trach… the better), to be able to take charge. the positions of architects, construction engineers, leading the charge in various fields, for the cause of national revival, construction of heavy industry compatible with the new stage, bringing industrialization and modernization make long and fundamental steps forward, promoting all aspects of economy, environment, culture – society, security – defense together for harmonious and sustainable development. 

– Thank you comrade.