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SEZs can be a development catalyst

Update: November, 14/2017 - 09:30
Trần Anh Tuấn

National Assembly deputy Trần Anh Tuấn tells the Việt Nam News Agency how special economic zones can boost national development.

What are some key factors in the development of special economic zones in Việt Nam?

There are three key elements: establishment of an SEZ administration, land resources and taxation policies. However, the most important facet of SEZs is the widespread influence they can exert.

From the State’s perspective, SEZs will have strong impacts on production, resource generation and technology transfer. Income generated from an SEZ is only a part of its contribution.

A SEZ is a place for transit of goods, a cradle for development and a linkage between domestic and foreign enterprises. So if the products manufactured in the SEZ meet all technical standards and norms, they will meet both domestic consumption and export demands. They will also be able to attract capital investment for their development.

Through the SEZ, domestic enterprises will be able to find their foreign counterparts in their production because it will attract foreign investors.

Last but not least, consumers will benefit quite a lot from the SEZ, including the availability of high quality products.

What are the benefits from a national economic perspective?

Besides the benefits they generate on their premises, the SEZs can help balance the State Budget by attracting more resources from outside sources.

I feel that various investment forms should be encouraged in the SEZs, including Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

It is important that in the initial period of development, we should not think much about its short-term economic efficiency. Of course, in the long run, economic efficiency and effectiveness are very important elements.

To attract investors into the SEZs, we should have proper policies on taxes, land, infrastructure and other elements.

Investing in the three SEZs – Vân Đồn (Quảng Ninh Province), Bắc Vân Phong (Khánh Hòa Province) and Phú Quốc (Kiên Giang Province) – will require a huge sum of money. Since our current budget is very tight, how do we manage this?

We need to balance the State budget and work out proper mid-term and long-term roadmaps for each project.

With a good plan, we can mobilise funds through Government bonds. The reality is that we have not been able to disburse some 70 per cent of the Government bond capital. So we also need a flexible fiscal policy.

To optimise this effort, and make the SEZs a driving force for national economic development, we have use our resources sensibly. We have to think of the order in which the SEZs should begin operations. It won’t be feasible to get all of them operational at the same time.

Lessons from other countries show that their SEZs are operating quite well. I’m confident that we can do the same thing. We should also establish free trade zones, which will benefit our people because duty-free goods can be sold there. — VNS

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