Quang Tri Investment Environment: In Vibrant Progress

3:25:09 PM | 12/10/2011

Quang Tri province saw a 30-position jump in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) to 16th place out of 63 rated provinces and cities in 2010. The province made the longest jump to the group of good business environment in the PCI ranking conducted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). Although the locality is still weak in some indicators in PCI categories, the overall ranking and progress demonstrated the determination of the province in improving its investment and business environment.
Opportunity from EWEC
Quang Tri has a 75-km coastline with a large fishing ground, billions of tonnes of silicate sand, reserves of 11 million cubic metres of timber, 60 - 100 billion cubic metres of natural gas, and has 50 historical and cultural sites. These advantages are not available in all localities in the country. Quang Tri also links with strategic traffic routes such as National Road 9 (a part of East - West Economic Corridor - EWEC), National Road 1A, and Ho Chi Minh Road. The province is the gateway of the EWEC; thus, it has great potential for transportation, trading, tourism and investment development with ASEAN countries.
These potentials are why Japan funded US$63 million to upgrade an airport and Road 9 in Laos just two months ago. Hundreds of Japanese companies express their firm commitment to EWEC. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japanese Government have funded many transport infrastructure projects along the EWEC, including the upgrading of Tien Sa Port in Da Nang City, Hai Van Tunnel and National Road 9. Mr Ho Dai Nam, Director of Quang Tri Department of Industry and Trade, said: “Wherever Japanese do business, there is prosperity. The question for us is how to tap our advantages.”
Seeing opportunities from the East - West Economic Corridor, many companies in Quang Tri province have mapped out their own development roads. Since 2002, Sepon Group, the largest business in Quang Tri, defined Road 9, a section of the Trans-Asia Road, to be a vital line. Many travel companies opened Vietnam - Laos - Thailand tours. The business community is the pioneer to lead Quang Tri province to promote linkage with other partners and tap its comparative advantages.
As a gateway for the EWEC, Quang Tri is actively preparing sufficient conditions for new breakthrough development. Not only investing to upgrade Road 9 and developing the Lao Bao Special Economic Zone, the province places high hopes on the construction of Dong Nam Economic Zone where My Thuy deepwater seaport is the nucleus. Once established and operated, the Dong Nam Economic Zone will be an important destination in the EWEC and open up a new way of economic development of Quang Tri province as well as of central Laos and northwest Thailand.
Commitment of accompanying businesses
Despite those potentials and advantages, the province has not attracted much investment capital, particularly foreign, in the past years. Both the value and quality of investment capital are considered “low.” Mr Tran Duc Tam, Deputy Director of the Quang Tri Department of Planning and Investment, said: “Quang Tri is presently lacking projects which can work as driving forces for socioeconomic development.” Even the total of approximately 2,300 enterprises operating in the province has not fully reflected local potential and advantages.
This motivates Quang Tri to work more for the sake of investors and businesses. The province vividly understands that the development of the business community is the measure of economic development success. Newly elected Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Le Huu Phuc said: “We must see businesses as our ‘benefactors’, help them quickly complete administrative procedures, and reduce travel and wait time for them.” Quang Tri province has translated its determination into action in recent years and rolled out the red carpet to welcome investors. In addition to the operational Lao Bao Special Economic Zone, the province has completed the basic construction of two large scale industrial parks, namely Nam Dong Ha and Quan Ngang, and 13 small scale industrial complexes. It has arranged investment capital for construction of infrastructure for industrial parks like levelling the ground, building roads, water systems, lighting systems, etc. It has also introduced investment incentive mechanisms and policies for investors in industrial parks.
With its continuous effort, Quang Tri attracted VND195 billion of investment capital in the first six months of 2011. In 2010, the province saw a 30-position jump in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) to the 16th place out of 63 rated provinces and cities. The province made the longest jump to the group of good business environment in the PCI ranking. It led the country in the market penetration index, one of nine categories of the PCI. It managed to deal with such disadvantages and shortcomings in such categories as transparency and time cost, dynamism, access to land and legal aid. It is accelerating the administrative procedure reform. On September 5, 2011, Mr Nguyen Duc Cuong, Chairman of Quang Tri Provincial People’s Committee, signed and issued Directive 15/CT-UBND on the acceleration of administrative procedure reform. Accordingly, Quang Tri will decentralise, simplify and publicise administrative procedures.
Remarking on the investment climate in Quang Tri province, Mr Cao Thanh Nam, General Director of MDF VRG Quang Tri Wood Joint Stock Company, said: Quang Tri has good investment policies to unlock its potential and advantages of rich natural resources, and low-paid labour. The province also offers special preferences for specific groups of businesses. This is a condition for us to build another MDF wood factory at a total investment capital of VND1,000 billion here, with capacity doubling the current facility.
Ngo Khuyen - Phan Quang