Reflections on Market Reform in Post-War, Post-Embargo Vietnam

29 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2011

See all articles by Lan Cao

Lan Cao

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Date Written: 2001


This essay briefly chronicles Vietnam's postwar years, its policy of isolation instituted after April 30, 1975, and its subsequent shift toward incremental reintegration with the global economy. After five years of negotiations, Vietnam has entered into a comprehensive bilateral trade accord with the United States, another step toward greater integration. With its new emphasis on more openness, more communication, and more connection, what else must Vietnam do to ensure that openness becomes a reality and to facilitate its transition from a closed, centrally planned economy to a more diverse market-based one? More specifically, which policies, given the structural and political constraints posed by Communist Party (Party) rule, will best facilitate its efforts at legal reforms to further its objective of economic integration and its self-professed commitment to the “rule of law”?

This essay will situate these questions within the specific context of Vietnam's historical experiences with the Chinese, French, and Soviet legal systems. I have, however, no grand conclusions to offer, partly because the observations in this essay are somewhat impressionistic, drawn from my personal experience and intuition, and partly because Vietnam itself has no comprehensive or grand conclusion either.

Keywords: Vietnam, International economic development, economic reform

JEL Classification: O1, O2, P10

Suggested Citation

Cao, Lan, Reflections on Market Reform in Post-War, Post-Embargo Vietnam (2001). Whittier Law Review, Vol. 22, pp.1029-1057, 2001, Available at SSRN:

Lan Cao (Contact Author)

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
7146282659 (Phone)


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