Having sidestepped the worst of the coronavirus pandemic so far, Vietnam aims to rev up its economy over the next five years, trusting its custom-tooled mix of free trade deals, privatization and tight COVID-19 curbs.

Armed with a raft of free trade deals envied by regional peers and increasingly luring factories away from China, the ruling Communist Party on Monday formally approved ambitions to raise growth beyond an annual 6% in the pre-pandemic era to 6.5% to 7.0% for the 2021-2025 period.

In an economic development blueprint confirmed at its five-yearly congress, it said it would boost its growing role as a key manufacturing hub for global giants like Samsung Electronics Co. and Intel Corp. At the same time, the party is targeting raising the country's profile beyond a low-cost labor destination to a center for science and technology.