• Short Summary

    South Vietnamese Government officials are faced with salvaging their war-torn country's economy as the Vietnam conflict appears to be near an end.

  • Description

    GV, WP & SV Rice being reaped, measured & put in bags (5 shots)

    & SV INT Wood sheets being prepared & cut in plant (3 shots)

    GV Stacked logs for export

    MVs Raw sugar dumped & placed on converter belt (2 shots)

    SVs Refined sugar being sorted & bagged (2 shots)

    GV & SV Cement plant & cement being bagged by workers (5 shots)

    GV, IS & CU Sea food being prepared and sorted (9 shots)

    Initials ESP/1115 ESP/1135

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: South Vietnamese Government officials are faced with salvaging their war-torn country's economy as the Vietnam conflict appears to be near an end.

    In the past, South Vietnam's economy traditionally hinged on rice exports. But today the country has to import the grain to help feed its population.

    South Vietnam's only indigenous economic resources after ten years of fighting are a handful of industries around Saigon. The rubber plantations and fisheries earn the country just 15 million dollars (about 6 million pounds sterling) annually. Apart from these industries, the economy has been based, for the past five years, on imports financed by American aid and on the now almost non-existent expenditure of the American Armed Services.

    The American aid programme, worth 385 million dollars (about 150 million pounds sterling) during the last financial year, now faces an uncertain future. A South Vietnamese delegation is at present in Washington trying to persuade the United States Congress to phase out the aid gradually, rather than end it all at once.

    In an attempt to rebuild its economy, South Vietnamese Government officials have had serious talks with Japan. They hope Japan will introduce a 50 million dollar (about 20 million pounds sterling) commercial import programme. Other officials are planning trade negotiations with a number of countries next week. However, the South Vietnamese are finding it difficult to find firms willing to invest in the country.

    SYNOPSIS: South Vietnam's economy traditionally began with the production and export of rice. But now South Vietnam imports rice. Although production has increased, so has its population, and the country is finding it difficult to grow enough to be self-sufficient. Government officials say no-one is willing to invest 40 million dollars in a fertilizer plant to help increase rice production.

    The same problem, insufficient production and investment, faces almost all parts of the Vietnamese economy. The country is rich in timber but poor in first class saw mills. Most of the lumber is exported to Japan as logs, and the money is made there.

    Vietnam could export sugar, but the Government can't find inventors to spend 40 million dollars on a modern mill to make the potential a paying proposition. Investors have for years dismissed the country as too unstable to develop.

    South Vietnam has the natural resources to produce cement, and does, but not enough for its own needs. The Government has passed laws to encourage foreign investment in a desperate bid to increase exports. But so far the result has not been encouraging.

    One of the country's few export earners is the fishing industry. South Vietnam exports 15 million dollars worth a year, most of it sea food from the South China Sea. In trying to rebuild its economy, the Government has had talks with the Japanese, and will hold trade negotiations with other nations. And at the moment there's a South Vietnamese Delegation in Washington, trying to persuade Congress to phase out its aid gradually, rather than cut it all off at once.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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