Pham Thanh Tuoi, chairman of Ca Mau Province's People's Committee, discusses his recent trip along a 950-km road linking Thailand and Viet Nam and its potential to boost regional growth.
What did you learn from this trip?
|Pham Thanh Tuoi
The trip has allowed us to study and research the potential of each area so we can have better cooperation in the future. I hope to see more cooperation efforts between Viet Nam and Thailand as a result of this trip.
Which economic sectors will benefit from the southern coastal corridor?
Ca Mau and other Mekong Delta provinces have potential in fishery and agricultural products. We will also have opportunities to seek investment from the Thai tourism sector.
Good conditions for business cooperation exist in the provinces traversed by Route R10. Ca Mau, which is home to a major fishing and agricultural industry, has the potential to develop eco-tourism and aquaculture cultivation.
Also, the Ca Mau Cape National Park was recently recognised as a Ramsar site. Together with the U Minh Ha mangrove forest, the Ca Mau Cape was named by UNESCO as a world biosphere. We can also work with Thailand to promote eco-tourism here.
Ocean and island tourism, particularly on Khai Long, Hon Khoai and Hon Da Bac islands, is another promising area.
With the sea route via the Gulf of Thailand, tourism activities can be enhanced from Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces to Thailand.
In terms of trade, Ca Mau is a leader in seafood processing and exports. Its products have been shipped to 40 countries and territories, including demanding markets like the US, Japan, the EU, South Korea and Australia.
Route R10 is in worse condition in parts of Viet Nam than it is in Cambodia and Thailand. When will work on the road be completed?
Road construction will be completed in early 2015. At that time, transportation from Nam Can District to Bangkok will be much better.
The biggest challenge right now is land clearance, but we have nearly finished that.
Funds for the project came from the Asian Development Bank, which has also funded Route R9.
Can you tell us about Ca Mau's economic potential?
The province is one of the four localities in the delta's key economic zone. It has mild weather and is full of development potential.
The road along the southern coastal region will benefit the area tremendously. Besides agriculture, tourism is expected to develop well.
With the route, Vietnamese products will be able to enter Cambodia and Thailand more easily. This will benefit Ca Mau as well as the entire Mekong Delta region.
Using seaports to import and export goods can reduce transportation fees. The sea route is even more effective than the road route. Both Ca Mau and Kien Giang have seaports.
I think our feasibility trip this week was necessary to help us prepare for the ASEAN Economic Community integration, which is expected to be completed in 2015.
What is the current level of foreign direct investment in Ca Mau?
The number of foreign direct investment projects in Ca Mau is still limited. And there still are no investors from Thailand. —VNS