By ELAINE KURTENBACH BANGKOK (AP) — Vietnam, the location of President Donald Trump’s next meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has come a long way since America abandoned its war against communist North Vietnam in the 1970s. North and South united into a youthful nation that now has 95 million people, and in the mid-1980s the country embraced global trade, starting its rise as a production base for South Korea’s Samsung and many other manufacturing giants. The “Doi Moi” reforms adopted by its communist rulers, modeled largely on China’s transformation into the world’s factory floor, could be a model for North Korea. ___ GOING FOR GROWTH: The Vietnamese economy expanded at an estimated annual rate of just above 7 percent in 2018, fueled by a double-digit increase in manufacturing output. At 5.54 quadrillion Vietnamese dong ($238 billion in 2017), its GDP ranks in the world’s top 50 economies. As the economy has grown, poverty rates have fallen and life expectancy has risen, to 76 years. SAMSUNG FACTOR: Heavy investment by South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest maker of computer chips and cellphones, led commitments by other big global manufacturers like Microsoft and Intel. Samsung opened Vietnam’s first… Read full this story
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