|Cao Đức Phát, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economics, said the southeastern region plays an important role in the country’s economy. — VNS Photo Xuân Hương|Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Provinces and cities in the Southeastern region should enhance linkages to enable the region to capitalise on opportunities and overcome challenges from global integration, delegates said at a forum held in HCM City yesterday.
Cao Đức Phát, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economics, said the southeastern region played an important role in the country’s economy since it was the pioneer in industrial and services development, especially in high-tech, electronics, oil and gas industries and tourism, telecommunication, financial, banking, commercial and logistics services.
HCM City and Bình Dương and Đồng Nai provinces lead the country in GDP growth, foreign direct investment attraction and improved business environment.
In the first half of the year, foreign investment in the region accounted for 51.6 per cent of the country’s total in terms of new projects, and 42.2 per cent of the country’s total foreign investment capital.
“However, the region’s development was not commensurate with its potential since its growth quality remained low and unsustainable, while its human resource quality was still low compared to its development demand,” he said.
In addition, infrastructure development has not kept pace with its economic development, and there was a lack of co-operation between localities in the region, he said.
Phát as well as many other delegates at the meeting agreed that with the country participating in many free trade agreements, enterprises in the region would have opportunities to expand export markets, but they also faced challenges.
Vũ Thành Tự Anh, director of Research at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Programme, said: “We have an unprecedented historical opportunity with countless opportunities but also bigger challenges. The most important thing is how to turn these opportunities to reality.”
Regional connections have been built in the last 10 years, but poor linkages exist between localities in the region, he said.
Small boats of provinces should form a larger fleet capable of international competition, Anh said, adding that it was an urgent task for the region.
Võ Văn Khoa, director of Bình Phước’s Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, said localities had faced problems in regional linkage in past years because of a lack of regional data and co-operation among localities in policy planning.
Poor regional linkages resulted in having too many investors in some places and a lack of investors in other places, he said.
“Investors usually want to invest in localities near seaports and airports, so provinces like Bình Phước and Tây Ninh, with their infrastructure difficulties, especially roads, seaports and airports, find it hard to attract investors,” he said.
Võ Văn Tư, director of Lâm Đồng’s Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, said localities had committed to co-operate in investment promotion activities, but it was still all on paper.
He suggested that localities co-operate in creating zoning plans to harmonise regional development.
Đoàn Duy Khương, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the region should identify key sectors, industries and products that would enhance competitiveness both at home and abroad.
In addition, the region should work together to improve transport infrastructure.
Đặng Xuân Quang, deputy head of the Foreign Investment Agency, said FDI in the region was expected to reach nearly US$60 billion in the 2016-20 period, accounting for 45-55 per cent of total FDI in the country.
He urged provinces and cities in the region to complete zoning plans for socio-economic development, especially land-use zoning plans, to attract investors.
The region should also focus on improving human resource training to provide the market qualified staff who meet international standards.
In addition, it should enhance co-operation with other provinces and cities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, Central and Central Highlands regions to create supply chains of products and services with high added value.
Organised by the Diễn Dàn Doanh Nghiệp newspaper in collaboration with the departments of Planning and Investment, and Investment and Trade Promotion Centres of localities in the region, the forum attracted about 350 officials, businesses and others. — VNS