The WEF’s annual assessment using the GCI index in 2006-2017 shows that Vietnam’s national competitiveness has been low. Globally, Vietnam has ranked in the middle of economies surveyed. Regionally, Vietnam has been in the middle of ASEAN countries. With regard to the level of development, before 2015 Vietnam was in stage 1 (factor-driven), together with Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Since 2015 Vietnam has shifted toward a transition to stage 2 (efficiency-driven), which also includes Brunei and the Philippines. The country, however, has lagged behind Indonesia and Thailand (in stage 2), Malaysia (in transition to stage 3) and Singapore (in stage 3, innovation-driven). To complement the WEF’s assessment, this study provides an in-depth anal-ysis of main causes of Vietnam’s low competitiveness from the country’s perspective. These are structural problems due to its factor-based growth model, expansionary policies to aid growth, slowly improved business envi-ronment, low R&D expenditure, poorly performing higher education and under-developed infrastructure. Further, the research examines implications of these shortcomings for Vi-etnam. These are low productivity, diminishing GDP growth, middle income trap, macroeconomic instability, low business competitiveness, low technolo-gy level, low human capital quality and environmental degradation. Based on the analysis of the shortcomings and their consequences, policy measures are proposed to improve Vietnam’s competitiveness. Major sugges-tions include structural reforms to change the growth model from factor-based to productivity-based, raising technology level and enhancing human capital quality, improving the business environment, ensuring macroeconomic stability, upgrading infrastructure and learning from advanced economies.