Son La Industry and Trade Sector: Solid Strides

2:11:04 PM | 5/12/2022

Advantageously lying at the heart of the Northwest, Son La province has advanced steadily and developed all fields comprehensively. The industry and trade sector has played an important role in that process and helped Son La province make steady progress towards the goal of building a green, rapid-growing and sustainable province. Our reporter has an interview with Ms Pham Thi Doan, Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Son La province, on this matter.

Leaders of Son La province and the National Office of Intellectual Property witness the signing of an MoU on the production and consumption of longans

Son La province lies at the heart of the Northwest, interconnects the region and facilitates trade with Laos. Thus, industry and trade play a particularly important role in socioeconomic development. Could you please introduce outstanding results of these two fields?

Cared for by the Provincial Party Committee, the Provincial People’s Council and the Provincial People’s Committee and supported by local authorities and enterprises, Son La industry has always maintained its development momentum by exploiting local potential strengths like hydropower, human resources and raw materials for agricultural products.

Electricity and agricultural processing currently account for a high share of industry and raise added value to the province’s economy. Currently, the province is home to three large hydropower plants and 56 smaller ones with a total capacity of 3,784.7 MW. Annually, hydroelectricity revenue contributes over 35% of the province’s total budget revenue and helps ensure national energy security and socioeconomic development.

Agricultural processing is supporting local product selling; facilitating agricultural production, employment, income growth and livelihood improvement for people, and increasing budget revenue. The province has more than 500 agricultural product processors, including 50 processing factories for export. They focus on processing dairy, sugar, coffee, tea, vegetable, tuber and fruit products. In particular, some corporations are strongly processing, preserving and exporting agricultural products to domestic and foreign markets, particularly Vinamilk (dairy processing factory in Moc Chau), TH Group (fresh fruit and herb processing factory in Van Ho) and Dong Giao Food Joint Stock Company (Doveco Son La Fruit and Vegetable Processing Center). Agricultural processing value increased as high as 9% annually in 2016-2021 and accounted for over 60% of the processing and manufacturing industry.

Trading was kept stable and goods were circulated smoothly. The supply of commodities and raw materials for production and trading activity was always guaranteed. In particular, the supply of goods met local needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The average annual retail revenue of goods rose by over 11% in 2016-2021.

Trade promotion and export connection has been promoted, reformed, and adapted flexibly to achieve high performance, especially agricultural product marketing and export. Up to now, Son La has had 17 agricultural products exported to 21 countries and territories. Stably sold and highly priced products brought higher income for people, generated more jobs and stabilized local socioeconomic performance. Export value climbed over 13% annually in 2016-2021.

The action program for implementation of the resolution of the Provincial Party Congress aims to unlock potential advantages, promote modernized agricultural processing development and build Son La into an agricultural processing center of the Northwest. What key solutions and strategies has the provincial industry and trade sector carried out to achieve these goals?

The province's industry and trade sector has carried out key solutions: Coordinating with the Department of Planning and Investment to advise on investment attraction and support policies for infrastructure development in industrial zones for investors; and attracting deep agricultural processing projects suitable to local practical conditions.

We also enhanced our understanding of operations of local enterprises; hosted regular dialogues with them to learn about their problems and seek workable solutions, and encourage and support them to apply modern advanced technology, machinery and equipment, expand production, and improve quality management, product quality, product marketing and consumption, with special focus on agricultural processing and product preservation.

At the same time, the province has enhanced the effect of trade promotion and supply-demand connection; adopted consistent solutions to achieve breakthrough development in the domestic market, expand export markets and  develop e-commerce; increase and encourage domestic product consumption; attract investment in greengrocers to sell agricultural products, Son La specialty foods, and OCOP shops that sell locally distinctive One Commune One Product (OCOP) items. The province has also encouraged investment in logistics infrastructure, developed supermarkets, wholesale markets, and commercial markets in urban centers.

What are specific stages and areas that the Department of Industry and Trade will focus on to develop Son La rapidly and sustainably?

Being aware of the importance of attracting investment funds and achieving quick and sustainable development, Son La province will introduce mechanisms and policies on investment promotion, incentives, support and business facilitation.

On that basis, the Department of Industry and Trade will launch plans to carry out key tasks and solutions to improve the business environment, enhance competitiveness, support and develop enterprises. Specifically, the department will focus on reviewing, developing and effectively implementing master plans, schemes, plans, mechanisms and policies in respect of industry and trade to ensure timely, appropriate and right responses to Party resolutions, laws and policies to lay the groundwork and build a driving force for drawing development investment resources to unlock local potential advantages and to bolster industrial and commercial development.

The department will accelerate administrative reform, publicity and transparency of administrative processes and procedures; promptly detect, amend and abolish documents that are no longer appropriate, eradicate cumbersome administrative procedures, minimize time and cost for people and businesses; and work closely with relevant departments, agencies and localities to promptly remove difficulties faced by enterprises.

The Department of Industry and Trade will actively reform investment promotion contents and forms, improve the quality of communication materials and publications to interest investors from the first contact; work with local authorities and agencies to review industrial zone development and better manage industrial zones; advise the Provincial People's Committee to issue regulations on management of industrial zones; finalize draft plans for Son La industrial development in 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050; and consult solutions on logistics service development to gradually reduce logistics costs.

The department will actively support enterprises in international economic integration, trade promotion, e-commerce and export.

On that basis, we are committed to readily accompanying businesses and investors, promptly removing difficulties and obstacles in local production and business, and creating all favorable conditions for enterprises to develop strongly to play a greater part in local socioeconomic development.

Thank you very much!

By Nguyen Bach, Vietnam Business Forum