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Vietnam targets 7% annual GDP growth over next five years

·1 min read

HANOI, April 14 (Reuters) - Vietnam's government said it will target annual gross domestic product growth of 7% during the 2021-2025 period, even as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to derail global trade and production.

The Southeast Asian country's economy grew at its slowest pace in the first quarter of this year, at 3.8%, as the new coronavirus outbreak hit economic output.

The government said in a statement posted on its website late Monday that it will continue to improve its business environment and infrastructure, expand its export markets, apply advanced technologies and promote the development of the private sector over the next five years.

Vietnam, which has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia backed by robust exports and foreign investment, has this year struggled to maintain growth momentum due to the virus, which has halted business operations.

The government has recently announced relief packages, including tax holidays and cutting electricity prices. The central bank has also cut its policy rates to prop up economic activities.

Vietnam has so far reported 265 coronavirus cases and no deaths. (Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Sam Holmes)