• Short Summary

    More than three-and-a-half years after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, the new Communist state is continuing its steady progress towards establishing a new Marxist economic and social order.

  • Description

    GV Street in Ho Chi Minh City, with people on bicycles, motorcycles and small moped

    SV People repairing bicycles by roadside

    GV PAN Street scene TO SV stalls including fruit stalls (3 shots)

    SV Soldiers marching on road

    SV Two men transferring flour from sack to another

    SV PAN Two young children paddling canoe with a one-armed man aboard

    GV PAN Village and villagers working in field near Cambodian border

    GV Gate of village with red flags flying, and villagers walking on path beside village (2 shots)

    Vietnam's economy, especially in the South, is mainly agricultural and the chief industry is rice farming. In 1976, the government estimated rice production to be 12 million tons. Industrial crops include rubber, sugar cane, tobacco, coconuts and kenaf, a jute-like fibre. Industry is concentrated mainly in the north and the largest industries are food processing, cement, metallurgy, chemicals, paper, engineering and textiles.

    Initials BB

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: More than three-and-a-half years after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, the new Communist state is continuing its steady progress towards establishing a new Marxist economic and social order. The regime, established in 1976 with the formal re-unification of the North and South after the long years of war, is pushing on with its radical transformation of the war ravaged economic and social structures of South amid continuing controversy over its alleged violation of human rights. Swelling numbers of refugees fleeing the country and the growing dispute with its Communist neighbour Cambodia have intensified the problems facing the young nation. In a recent interview, Premier Pham Van Dong expressed confidence in Vietnam's progress towards prosperity, and said the primary need is to create a new, strong socialist economic order.

    SYNOPSIS: The massive changes wrought by the Communist regime are nowhere more obvious than in Saigon, now re-named Ho Chi Minh City. Still a bustling metropolis, most of the vice the war brought has been swept away -- along with most capitalist businesses. Its population has declined with a massive movement back to the land. Vietnam's industry is largely in the North, but in the South agriculture dominates and feeding the nation presents the post-war regime with its greatest challenge.

    South Vietnam has not been self sufficient in food grains since 1863 and with the ending of regular rice shipments from the United States, crisis was inevitable. The new government's immediate solution, in a five year plan launched in 1976, was the redeployment of massive numbers of people to the countryside to develop the agricultural economy, repairing and expanding irrigation and catching up with developments in agricultural technology.

    Severe flooding hit rice production this year, but Western experts predict that, within two years, Vietnam will be self sufficient in this field and able to export to pay for imports of vital new tools and machinery. With foreign trade links being expanded and a recent agreement with India for technical aid to exploit oil resources, some Western observers predict Vietnam could soon be a thriving nation, trading with both East and West.

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