Investors Get Spur in
In recent years, Ben Tre province has set up many projects to call for local and foreign investment, of which special attention has been given to the processing of seafood, fruit, coconuts and construction of bridges, roads, industrial parks and resorts.
Ben Tre is situated at the end of
Fisheries and gardening economy are two spearheads of Ben Tre, which represent up to 90 percent of its total export revenue.
The province now has 40,019 hectares of aquaculture. Total output of aqua products of Ben Tre reaches 129,049 tons per annum, of which 66,099 tons come from aquaculture. A coastal length of 65km is a seen a favourable condition for the development of offshore exploitation. There are now 610 offshore fishing boats are operating in the province with a capacity of 223CV each and an annual netting output of 62,950 tons. Ben Tre has 35,018 hectares of coconuts churning out 220 million coconuts per year and 39,760 hectares of fruit trees providing 387,456 tons per year. Annually, the province supplies over 20 million seedlings of high quality to the country.
Since 2002, Ben Tre has been ranked at 27th out of the country’s total 64 provinces and cities in terms of Human Development Index (HDI), 6 th out of 13 provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta in terms of local and foreign investment capital. In addition, the province currently has three vocational schools, one college and two job promotion centres which always provide enough skilled labourers for investors.
Ben Tre now has two river ports and three fishing ports. The national roads 57 and 60 have been upgraded, linking the province with southern key economic zones. Most importantly, Ben Tre has a modern post and telecommunication system, effective and precisely meeting the demand of investors for information.
Tourism is also considered an advantage of Ben Tre. Travellers will have a chance to admire cultural and historic relics together with many special tours of this islet province.
According to Nguyen Truc Son, Director of Ben Tre Investment Promotion Centre, the province plans to absorb a foreign inflow of US$80 million and domestic investment of VND3.5 trillion in 2005-2010 period, of which US$20 million and VND1 trillion respectively must be obtained this year.
At the conference introducing policy and investment environment held last year in Ho Chi Minh City, representative of Ben Tre handed investment licenses to Hong Kong-invested projects registered to operate in Giao Long Industrial Park (Chau Thanh District), including a 5-hectare US$5 million-cocoa processing plant, a US$13 million seafood processing plant and frozen store, and a project to produce industrial product packages. Other projects have been or are to be licensed are the construction of a US$3 million three-star hotel in Ben Tre Town, a US$600,000 hotel of an Vietnamese-Australian, a US$10 million supermarket and trade centre with an area of two hectares, and the construction and repair of seaport and ships in Binh Dai District worth US$10 million. The Ho Chi Minh City Plastic Association also registers for a VND80 billion project to build the infrastructure of An Hiep Industrial Park (Chau Thanh District).
The province has completed planning on industrial parks and complexes in eight towns and districts. It will create most favorable conditions for investors, especially those who come to remote districts, fisheries, gardening economy and coco processing. Apart from low labor cost and simple procedures, the province will reduce or exempt corporate income tax, subsidise site clearance, apply one-price mechanism to investment in electricity, water, and post and telecommunications.
The province is seeking funds for projects on producing breeding shrimp and fish, high quality animal feed, and products from coconuts. The local authorities have pledged 100 percent subsidy of lending interest rate, 50 percent of expenses for technology transfer and 30 percent of expenses for quality standard registration, for coconut projects.
Currently, two major industrial parks in Ben Tre are An Hiep (65 hectares) and Giao Long (254 hectares). Licensed projects just make up a small part in these two parks while the remainder is awaiting investors.