|Thanh Hoa Province People's Committee Chairman Nguyen Dinh Xung
Thanh Hoa Province People's Committee Chairman Nguyen Dinh Xung speaks to Trung Hieu and Duc Phuong about the province's economic development potential and investment policies.
Can you tell us about the potential and strengths of Thanh Hoa Province, especially the achievements in socio-economic development in recent years?
Thanh Hoa is a northern central province, 154km south of Ha Noi, and 1,560km north of HCM City.
The province borders Nghe An, Son La, Hoa Binh and Ninh Binh, and shares a 192km-long western border with Laos.
Its 102km-long eastern coastline faces the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf.
The province has a population of nearly 3.5 million, ranking third in the country after Ha Noi and HCM City.
Thanh Hoa has always had a very important historical role in politics, military affairs, economy and culture, and is known as the "sacred land that gave birth to many talents".
The province has several advantages in terms of roads, railways, waterways and airways.
It has the North-South railway and several important national highways passing through it, such as National Highway 1A, Highway 10, Highway 45 and Highway 47, besides Highway 217, Highway 15A and HCM Avenue, as well as Tho Xuan Airport, with a route linking Thanh Hoa with HCM City and Buon Ma Thuot in the Central Highlands.
The province has the Na Meo international border checkpoint for trade with Laos and other ASEAN countries, and the Nghi Son deep-water sea port that can handle ships of 50,000 tonnes and also serves as the entry to the sea of the northern central area and northern Viet Nam.
Currently, the province has five industrial parks in which money has been invested to establish relatively complete infrastructure.
In particular, the province has the Nghi Son Economic Zone, one of the five key economic areas of the country with an area of more than 18,000ha that is being considered by the Prime Minister for expansion up to 106,000ha.
The Nghi Son Economic Zone now has major projects such as the Nghi Son oil refinery project, with a total investment of more than US$9 billion; a syndicate project of the Nghi Son thermal power plants with a total investment of more than $4 billion; the Nghi Son steel rolling plant with a capacity of producing seven million tonnes of steel ingots per year; and the Nghi Son cement plant with a capacity of 4.3 million tonnes a year.
Thanh Hoa has 1,535 valuable historical and cultural heritage, including 145 national-level relics, 626 provincial monuments, and many beautiful landscapes, including the Ho dynasty citadel that has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site, the Lam Kinh historic monuments zone, the Relic of Lady Trieu that is recognised as a special national relic, and several famous landmarks such as Do Mountain, Dong Son cultural sites, King Le Dai Hanh Relics and Ben En National Park, as well as the natural reserves and beautiful beaches such as Sam Son, Hai Tien and Hai Hoa. The province has great advantages to develop different kinds of tourism such as beach tourism, eco-tourism, historical tourism and spiritual tourism.
We can say Thanh Hoa has all elements of economic infrastructure, social infrastructure, geographical location and natural resources, and provides security to investors. Thanh Hoa always welcomes investors to research and explore investment opportunities in the province, recognising that "the success of the businesses is also the success of the province".
We pledge to create favourable conditions for investors.
Can you tell us about the projects that are inviting investment and have potential for investment in economic zones and industrial parks in the province?
The total number of projects in Thanh Hoa that are inviting investment is 101, with focus on key areas such as production, business, socio-economic infrastructure and environment - energy.
As for potential for investment in economic zones and industrial parks, currently, we have eight industrial zones with a total area of 2,036ha.
They include Le Mon IZ, Hoang Long IZ, Bim Son IZ and Dinh Huong - Tay Bac Ga, as well as Lam Son - Sao Vang IZ, with the occupancy rate estimated at 60 per cent.
We also have three industrial parks along Ho Chi Minh Highway, which were added by the Prime Minister to the Development Planning for Industrial Zones in Viet Nam, including Thach Quang, Ngoc Lac and Bai Tranh IZs. These have many advantages, and allow convenient transportation as they connect with Ho Chi Minh Highway and Tho Xuan airport.
What is the potential for development of the seafood processing industry, markets and the possibility for co-operation with foreign enterprises in this field?
Thanh Hoa is one of the few provinces that have a long coastline and vast sea waters. We have 1.2 million residents living in coastal districts and towns, accounting for 34 per cent of the provincial population.
With the Nghi Son sea port located near the gateway to the East Sea of the northern central provinces of Viet Nam and northern provinces of Laos, our province has a lot of potential and advantages for comprehensive development of the marine economy.
In recent years, the province's seafood industry has seen rapid and comprehensive development in the catching, rearing, processing and fisheries logistics services.
The growth of fisheries in the 2011 - 2015 period is estimated at 6.6 per cent.
We have both a domestic consumption market and an export market, of which the former accounts for 60 to 70 per cent, while the annual exports account for 30 to 40 per cent of the total production and processing.
The major export markets are Japan, Hong Kong, mainland China as well as Singapore and some European countries. The total value of seafood exports in 2015 is estimated at US$75 million, 1.5 times higher than in 2010.
In the near future, Thanh Hoa will focus on research and investment to apply advanced technologies in seafood processing, especially to apply compatible processes for quality management systems and food safety, according to ISO, HACCP, GMP, SSOP, in all processing units in order to raise the proportion of value-added products and build seafood product brands of Thanh Hoa.
We also invite businesses to co-operate with foreign partners to develop and form seafood distribution channels with consumers in international markets, primarily the United States, the European Union and Japan.
What about orientation and solutions for socio-economic development of the province in the future?
As for development orientation, we'll restructure the economy and transform growth models in order to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness; increase investment in socio-economic infrastructure; and promote administrative reform.
We'll improve the quality of human resources and social-cultural activities, reduce poverty rate, provide employment and social security and improve the material and cultural life of the people, as well as strengthen environmental protection, ensure efficient use of natural resources, actively respond to climate change and ensure national defence - security, social order and safety.
We are trying to make Thanh Hoa an advanced province by 2020.
We focus on carrying out the following solutions:
First, we'll review to add and build new planning mechanisms and policies suitable to the task of economic restructuring, and associated with the transformation of growth patterns;
Second, we'll continue to improve the investment climate, and effectively mobilise and use resources for development investment;
Third, we'll accelerate economic restructuring associated with the transformation of growth patterns, develop potential and advantages to make fundamental changes in the quality of growth and competitiveness of the provincial economy;
Fourth, we'll develop businesses and build strong business contingents, with high competitiveness and reputation in the marketplace;
Fifth, we'll develop human resources to meet the requirements of industrialisation and modernisation of the province;
Sixth, we'll promote socialisation and enhance quality and effectiveness of scientific - technological and cultural - social activities to help the province become a centre of culture and education, health and sports of the northern central region and the whole country;
Seventh, we'll strengthen state management of natural resources, minerals and environment protection, and actively respond to climate change;
Eighth, we'll boost administrative reform and improve the quality of management, direction and execution of all administrative levels and sectors;
Lastly, we'll strengthen national defence and security, and maintain political security, social order and safety in the province to create a safe investment environment for businesses, investors and people to develop production and business. — VNS