Deputy PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has urged the southern province of Long An to resolve a dispute about maintenance fees between an industrial park developer and companies operating in the park. — Photo dantri.com.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Deputy PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has urged the southern province of Long An to resolve a dispute about maintenance fees between an industrial park developer and companies operating in the park.
Tân Đức Investment Corporation, the developer of Tân Đức Industrial Park in Long An Province, has been criticised for improperly resolving the dispute with the Japanese candymaker Tango Candy whose confectionery plant is located in the park.
The Tân Đức Industrial Park has asked the Japanese firm to pay a total of VNĐ360 million (US$16,138) worth of unpaid infrastructure maintenance fees, plus VNĐ130 million ($5,827) in late payment fines.
Tân Đức demanded a fee of VNĐ10,018 per square metre per year, but Tango Candy would only agree to pay a rate of VNĐ8,500 per square metre per year.
Tango said that it would never pay the amount requested, and said it was willing to have the dispute settled in court.
In addition to Tango, of the 121 companies operating in Tân Đức Industrial Park, 46 (including 34 foreign firms) have not reached any agreement on the infrastructure maintenance fee, according to Long An Province’s People’s Committee.
The industrial park has been widely slammed for being unprofessional, according to local media reports.
Tân Đức blocked the entrance to Tango’s factory while the two parties are still under negotiation over the payment.
The industrial park also temporarily turned off the electricity and suspended water supply.
“While all Vietnamese firms have paid the fees we asked for, many foreign companies have repeatedly delayed payments for years, so we had to resort to other solutions,” Trần Dương, director of public relations for Tân Đức, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper on Sunday (Mar 27).
“We took this action only on the land plot we own, and we have ensured that employees can enter Tango Candy for work,” he said. “The blockade was only meant to hinder Tango Candy’s operations, preventing them from using the services we have invested money in and paid taxes for.”
Tango Hirosuke, general director of Tango Candy Co Ltd, said he would not have chosen Tân Đức Industrial Park if he had been aware of the park operator’s behavior.
Hirosuke said the contract it signed with Tân Đức did not include any clauses about infrastructure maintenance fees.
With the suspended water supply, Tango Candy had to buy bottled water to maintain operations.
But the company still failed to complete two export orders on time, and is now waiting for requests for compensation from its partners, Hirosuke told Tuổi Trẻ newspaper.
He added that he has yet to calculate the material damage caused by the threatening actions from Tân Đức.
Trần Dương, director of public relations with Tân Đức, said the company had filed a lawsuit with the People’s Court of Đức Hoà District, where the industrial park is located.
The company director Hirosuke said he was willing to follow the lawsuit, adding that there would be no concession.
Tân Đức on March 17 erected barriers in front of the company’s two entrances, saying that Tango had not paid fees since 2013. On March 18, Tân Đức cut the water supply and on March 19, the IP owner placed mounds of dirt in front of the company’s entrance.
On March 21, the Japanese firms operating in the park asked the Japanese Consulate in HCM City for help.
The Long An Economic Zone Management Board set up two public meetings as well as two private meetings to resolve the dispute between Tân Đức and Tango Candy.
But no agreement has been reached.
The Đức Hoà District Police in Long An Province summoned the people who erected the barriers and placed the dirt at the company’s entrance for further investigation.
On March 25, the provincial committee set up a team to resolve the issue.
At 1:30pm on the same day, Tân Đức cleared all the barriers in front of Tango Candy’s entrance and committed not to repeat the action.
Lê Tấn Dũng, vice chairman of Long An Province’s People’s Committee, said the case had caused huge losses to businesses operating in the park and had affected the investment environment in the province.
The province has asked agencies and districts as well as commune and city committees that have industrial parks to review industrial park operations and resolve any disputes that could affect business production in the province, Dũng said. — VNS