SAEZs to spur national development

March 27, 2018 | 21:12
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The National Assembly’s Standing Committee has just delivered the last-round comments to the Draft Special Administrative Economic Zone Law (SAEZ) before it will be submitted to the National Assembly’s upcoming fifth session in late May. Hoang Van Cuong, member of the NA Economic Committee elaborates on what we must do to avail ourselves of SAEZ advantages for national development.
saezs to spur national development
Hoang Van Cuong

In your view, should we pilot the establishment of SAEZs?

We will not pilot the SAEZ development model, because it is important to establish all the three proposed SAEZs, including Bac Van Phong, Van Don, and Phu Quoc, simultaneously.

In fact, these three proposed SAEZs all have special potential and advantages compared to other regions, and each of them features distinct potential, advantages, and are entitled to follow different development strategies.

If we pursued proper growth strategies, these three SAEZs could maximise their unique potential and advantages and support each other in development. The SAEZs are expected to contribute enormously to national development.

How should the country make all the SAEZs appeal to investors?

It is necessary to set priority development fields and areas in each SAEZ, based on their natural area, population, geographical position, and comparative potentials and advantages.

Towards this goal, the Law on SAEZ needs to clearly regulate key fields and professions for development priorities in each zone, leveraging their unique features. The incentives for key fields and professions of each zone must be different from common incentives. Besides, the priority and incentive level of each zone must be different from other zones and should be based on each zone’s comparative advantages and distinction. The target is to minimise competition among zones in attracting investment as well as between SAEZs and other zones (industrial zones, export processing zones, economic zones, and high-tech zones).

I believe once the Law on SAEZ comes into force, it could provide a very conducive environment for the development of innovative startups, research and development activities, high-tech industries, education, healthcare, hi-end resorts, logistics services, and others in the SAEZs.

Van Don and Phu Quoc are well-known venues with robust investment and trade activities, but Bac Van Phong remains little known to investors. How would you remedy this?

Compared to Van Don and Phu Quoc, Bac Van Phong is a more tranquil place and draws less attention from investors. The venue, however, offers multiple advantages to become a SAEZ.

Accordingly, it is part of the Van Phong deep-water bay and is close to important international shipping lines on the East Sea, so it offers favourable conditions to develop diversified transport models and has the potential to grow into an international transit hub in the near future.

Besides, as a vast land and water surface area at Bac Van Phong remains unused, the area provides conditions for the development of information technology, electronics, and precise engineering, port services, resort venues, trade, finance, and particularly logistics services.

What should be the priority investment fields of the SAEZs?

At Van Don, it is important to focus on high-tech fields and the associated supporting industry; hotels and resorts; services, transport, and airport logistics, with investment capital of at least VND110 billion ($5 million).

Besides, investment into tourism and entertainment complexes with casinos, trade, and international shopping are also suggested.

At Bac Van Phong, the focus lies on investment projects in information technology, electronics, precise engineering, and seaport logistics services, with investment capital of at least $5 million.

An investment capital of at least VND500 billion ($22.7 million) is required for the production of energy-saving items; cars and parts manufacturing and shipbuilding; and electronic components production.

For Phu Quoc, priority investment should be geared towards investment projects into tourism and general entertainment services with casino business; hotels and high-end resorts; convention and exhibition centres; as well as hospitals and clinics, education, and training facilities.

By Manh Bon

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