New Vision, New Space for Economic Growth

10:51:05 AM | 8/10/2022

Chairman of Hai Phong City People's Committee Nguyen Van Tung, Chairman of Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tuong Van, Chairman of Hai Duong Provincial People’s Committee Trieu The Hung, Chairman of Hung Yen Provincial People’s Committee Tran Quoc Van and President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pham Tan Cong officially signed an agreement on the economic connection of the Eastern Highway in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province on July 28, 2022.

This initiative is aimed to realize Party and State policy on fostering regional linkages to strengthen coordination in tapping and promoting the potential and advantages of the four localities along the Hanoi - Hai Phong - Mong Cai Highway. The document of the 13th Party Congress and Vietnam's 10-year socioeconomic development strategy for 2021-2030 highlighted the orientation of "increasing intra-regional and inter-regional linkages to participate in global value chains and create a new development space”.

The signing ceremony was carried out within the framework of the Eastern Highway Economic Corridor Forum jointly organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the four localities. The event was attended by central and local leaders and nearly 300 representatives from domestic and international business associations and business leaders of APEC economies.

The Eastern Highway Economic Connectivity Initiative is designed to build a sub-regional economic connectivity model, create a new development space, maximize local advantages, create a favorable business environment, achieve high economic growth, develop a thriving business community and build growth poles in the Red River Delta and the Northern region.

The combination of the four localities will form an area three times the size of Hanoi, five times of Ho Chi Minh City and eight times of Da Nang City and have a population nearly 6 times of Da Nang, nearly 80% of Hanoi and nearly 70% of Ho Chi Minh City. The four localities have great advantages of connecting the best transport infrastructure in the country, enabled by the eastern highway that links Hanoi with Mong Cai Border Gate on the border with China - a huge market. Local businesses can access three international airports (Noi Bai, Cat Bi and Van Don) and many international seaports. By joining economic connectivity, each locality has its own strengths. For example, Quang Ninh is strong in tourism resources, services, production and trade chains linked to the Chinese market. Hai Phong has special advantages in seaport and logistics systems. Hai Duong has outstanding potential in human resources and land fund, lying in the center of the interconnected region, and strong in the mechanical and manufacturing industry. Lying adjacent to Hanoi, Hung Yen has great potential for industrial development, high-tech agriculture and very rapid urbanization.

Signing parties agreed to establish the Regional Connectivity Council and VCCI would coordinate economic connectivity in the four localities. The Regional Secretariat is headquartered at VCCI building. VCCI will connect businesses, international partners and the four localities to form a successful regional economic connection model with substantive and specific activities to generate the best effects on sustainable economic development of all the four localities. As businesses are a very important player of economic connectivity, VCCI, with the framework of the Initiative, will support establishing and fostering the regional business council.

VCCI President Pham Tan Cong said, “In the old times, rivers were always the axis of development and connected economic and cultural centers. Today, highways, which are like rivers in the past, create and connect new economic and urban centers. So, the Eastern Highway corridor is the premise for the economic connection of the four provinces and cities. Once linked together, the four localities will create a new space and vision for economic development.”

In 2022 and 2023, the main job will focus on cooperation in trade and investment promotion; traffic and logistics; manufacturing supply chain development; tourism and service development; hi-tech agriculture and agricultural product processing; business environment improvement; digital transformation and digital connection; and others.

In addition to entering into the economic connection agreement, the four localities and VCCI jointly organized the Eastern Highway Economic Corridor Forum to introduce and discuss economic space and investment opportunities in the four localities with APEC businesses. The event was held concurrently with the third Meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC 3), hosted by VCCI, in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh from July 26-29, 2022. Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended and delivered an opening remark to the gathering on July 27, 2022. Nearly 150 international delegates from 21 APEC economies came to Ha Long to attend the event, including many leaders of world-leading firms like NEC, UPS, Marubeni, Quanta, Sinochem and Acer. The forum, held together with ABAC 3, directly presented the potential of the four localities to the APEC business community. Many of them said they would come back to learn more about business and investment opportunities in the four localities.

Hung Yen has great potential for industrial development and agricultural processing

Mr. Tran Quoc Van - Chairman of Hung Yen Provincial People's Committee

Hung Yen is very strong in industrial development. We have industrial zones which are very close to Hanoi, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, and Quang Ninh, only a 30-minute to one-hour drive. In particular, in 2021, Hung Yen cleared 500 ha of industrial zones for infrastructure construction and planned to free up about 1,000 ha in 2022 and hand it over to infrastructure developers. This land fund will enable the province to draw domestic and foreign projects into Hung Yen province.

A year ago, it was difficult for us to draw large projects because we hardly found a land plot of 10 ha. Currently, we have 15 industrial parks, with eight almost fully occupied, and seven under construction. We plan that all 3,800 ha of land will be fully cleared to convert to industrial purposes by 2025.

We would like to introduce the strengths of our industrial zones with the available land funds for lease and good infrastructure. Each province has its own strengths and we share the highway system and the railway system. Quang Ninh and Hai Phong also have a seaport system. We are looking forward to connecting with three other provinces of the Eastern Highway to create a synergized strength. 

Besides, in agricultural processing, from a poor agricultural province, the Party and the government of Hung Yen province always aspired to change the crop structure and improve techniques to transform into high-tech agriculture. In 2021, the agricultural yield of Hung Yen province was VND215 million per hectare. Flowers and ornamental plants in Van Giang district generated VND2 billion per hectare. Lychee and longan of Hung Yen yield VND500 million a hectare. We hope our provinces can introduce agricultural processors to us for joint cooperation in the future.

Hai Duong has traffic advantages and human resources that can meet business needs

Mr. Trieu The Hung - Chairman of Hai Duong Provincial People's Committee

Like the other three provinces, Hai Duong has a relatively good road system linked to other provinces and cities. In this term, we have also focused on connecting for development, connecting localities in the province, in the region and in the Red River Delta to create advantages in attracting investment capital and develop industry and high-yield agriculture.

Last March, Hai Duong started the construction of two more intersections from highways to provincial roads (Road 390 and Road 392). In the coming time, we will have three intersections from highways to provincial roads to create a driving force for infrastructure development and attract investment funds for the province.

Currently, Hai Duong is one of the provinces that still have vast room for development cooperation with the other provinces on the Eastern Highway and is ready to attract domestic and foreign investors. Hai Duong is urgently completing the infrastructure of five industrial parks and expanding one more industrial park with more than 1,200 ha of land, ready to welcome investors in 2022. The province is also planning a dynamic industrial zone of over 10,000 ha and is proposing to the Government to establish a separate economic zone.

On human resource training and development, Hai Duong has a population of over 2 million, over 53% of which are in the workforce. Thus, Hai Duong is advantageously providing human resources to meet the province's needs and is ready to supply human resources for Hung Yen, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong in the economic corridor.

On training, Hai Duong has 38 higher education and vocational education institutions, focusing on training high-quality human resources. In this term, Hai Duong Provincial Party Committee has requested a project on human resources development to meet recruitment in a bid to make Hai Duong a modern industrial province by 2030 as approved and the province has also focused on training human resources, not only for the province but also for the entire Northern Delta region. Human resources are a breakthrough factor for development. We advocate "training for business needs" to raise their skills in operating and using modern equipment.

Hai Phong has advantages in traffic and logistics

Mr. Nguyen Van Tung- Chairman of Hai Phong People's Committee

Hai Phong has two advantages: Transportation and logistics. Regarding transportation, Hai Phong has all five forms of traffic: sea, air, road, inland waterway and railway. Currently, the city has completed two deep-water ports that can receive ships of 130,000 tons and it is working to build four more deep-water ports in Lach Huyen Port area for transportation of regional and local commodities.

Hai Phong Cat Bi Airport is operating Terminal 1 with a yearly capacity of 4 million passengers. Recently, the Prime Minister approved the construction of Terminal 2 with an annual capacity of about 5 million passengers. Hai Phong is initiating this project.

On road traffic connectivity, last year, Hai Phong actively cooperated with other localities to develop regional transport. Specifically, it joined hands with Quang Ninh and Hai Duong to build bridges across rivers and expand the economic space for Hai Phong as well as the whole region. Recently, Hai Phong has also invested in building a coastal road to interconnect Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh provinces. Hai Phong has railways to Hanoi and the Northwest but they are not effectively operated.

With such a transport system, Hai Phong has a lot of advantages in logistics and hopes to coordinate with other localities and businesses to develop this field.

Quang Ninh has a geo-strategic location with development potential for various industries

Mr. Nguyen Tuong Van - Chairman of Quang Ninh Provincial People's Committee

On the Eastern Highway, Quang Ninh has five great advantages. The first is a geo-strategic location, with both overland and sea borders. In the context of international integration, the province is at the starting point of the “Two Corridors, One Belt” cooperation region and is also a place for exchange and mobility of science, technology and freight in Northeast Asia regions.

Secondly, Quang Ninh has a relatively large natural area endowed with rich natural resources and diverse natural ecosystems. Quang Ninh has Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, which are not only cultural heritages but also miniature Vietnamese culture.

On infrastructure, Quang Ninh is gradually completing the overall synchronous and interconnected social and economic infrastructure systems. Quang Ninh has built about 200 km of highways (equivalent to a tenth of the country) to reduce the travel time from Hanoi to Ha Long to only 1.5 hours and from Hanoi to Mong Cai Border Gate to 3 hours in the near future. This is a great advantage.

Quang Ninh has many tourist products and many famous tourist sites. In the first six months of 2022, the province welcomed about six million tourists, representing a tremendous success in the tourism recovery of Quang Ninh after the pandemic.

Besides, Quang Ninh has seaport infrastructure, industrial zone infrastructure and economic zone infrastructure. All of these infrastructures are very good for regional connectivity, enabling the province to unlock its potential advantages.

On the business environment, administrative reform and institutional reform, the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) of Quang Ninh province has ranked first for the last five straight years and stood in the Top 5 for 9 consecutive years. Its other indicators have also gradually picked up to confirm its very high political determination in accelerating administrative reform and improving the business and investment environment.

The success of the Eastern Highway economic connection is not only for authorities but also for businesses and people. We still say that people and businesses are the centers, the owner and the driving force of activities. Aligning these connections between authorities and businesses will make people's lives better. Connections will make transport infrastructure and tourism infrastructure complete. By completing that infrastructure system, boosting investment and tourism promotion and product marketing will be more effective.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum