Can Tho Prioritising FDI Attraction

4:52:53 PM | 29/1/2015

Not only one of five cities directly under the central authorities, Can Tho City is also the key economic region of the Mekong Delta. This advantage plus benefits from a privileged location, abundant resources, potential for tourism, industry and services development, have created favourable conditions for Can Tho to significantly improve its’ position in the FDI attraction ranking. To learn more about this success, Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Nguyen Van Hong, Director of Can Tho Planning and Investment Department. Hoang Lam reports.
Could you tell us more about Can Tho’s achievements in attracting FDI in recent years?
In 2014, investment in Can Tho has seen positive changes. Specifically, for the first 11 months, the city attracted 7 FDI projects with total registered capital of US$35 million, up 4.5 times compared to 2013 (a total of 7 projects, total registered investment of US$7.7 million). Accumulated by Dec, 2014, Can Tho city had 62 FDI projects in operation with a total registered capital of US$930 million; of which disbursement so far has reached about US$284.1 million (accounting for 30.5 percent of registered capital). In addition, in 2014, there are 4 projects which increase capital with a total addition of US$12.4 million, up 4 times compared with 2013 (only one project expanded capital of US$3.1 million).
To date, the Can Tho Center for Promotion of Trade and Tourism Investment has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with KOVI Consulting and Development Company Limited (100 percent capital of Korea) specializing in the field of consulting and investment promotion, Can Tho Department of Trade and Industry also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with LS Mtron Group (100 percent capital of Korea) activities in the field of manufacturing and trading of agricultural machinery, and the Department of Planning and investment signed a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Korean Agency of Environment, Construction Management and Information Technology Company (CMIT), and Ha Long Investments and Consultantcy Company to establish cooperation with investors, major corporations in the world, committed to an investment-friendly environment and support investors.
So far, many large corporations around the world have chosen Can Tho as a trusted investment destination, such as Lotte, Pepsi Co, Coca-Cola…Thereby contributing to the socioeconomic development of the city, enhancing export value, increasing revenue, and creating jobs for workers.
Notably, the establishment of the Lotte Trade Centre in Can Tho – the well-known Korean retail brand - with a total investment of more than US$31 million has also helped increase investment in the field of trade - service, contributing significantly to the economic restructuring of the city.
From the obtained results, could you conclude what the potential and advantages of Can Tho are in attracting investment, especially FDI?
Can Tho city has a major advantage in geographical location. Being located in the centre of Mekong Delta, we have favourable conditions in exchanging with localities, both region internal and external, as well as international through road, waterways and airways. Despite some limitations in facilities and infrastructure conditions, over the years, the city has focused on investing into construction of many large-scale projects (Can Tho Bridge, Can Tho International Airport, Can Tho Port, highways, power supply network), contributing to the development of the sectors of service - trade, transport and tourism.
It is worth noting that Can Tho right now is forming socioeconomic establishments in the initial form of Mekong Delta’s centres, including the Commerce - Service – Tourism Centre, The Industrial Centre, the Education – Training Centre, the Medical Centre, the Centre for Science - Technology, the Cultural – Sport Centre. Especially, in the field of education - training, Can Tho is home to many prestigious educational institutions (Can Tho University, the University of Medicine and Pharmacy), scientific and management staff of high level, comparatively greater scientific and technical potential to other provinces. The city is also constructing a South-western Cultural Centre in Cai Rang district, forming a centre of culture - service of the Mekong Delta.
However, despite those achievements, Can Tho’s attracted FDI remains unsatisfying compared with existing potential and strengths of the city, that is a result from limitations in transportation infrastructure, ports, services, human resources and clean land. What is the city’s plan to overcome these weaknesses?
In the current context, the FDI attracting results of the city is still seen as not on par with a city directly under the central authorities. Therefore, improving the efficiency of FDI attracting in both quantity of projects and quality of investment capital has been identified as an urgent task for the city in the future. Can Tho will focus on adjusting policies concerning attracting investment into the city; accordingly, the 2015 Investment Promotion Program of the city will focus on selecting priority areas to attract FDI. Specifically, in the field of infrastructure, the city will prioritize FDI for developing transportation networks, ports, logistics service providers, industrial zones, intensive information technology zones, hospitals, 5 star hotels, and resort and golf course complexes. In the agricultural sector, the city will prioritise investment in high-tech agricultural production, sustainable development (high-tech agricultural zone, Mekong Delta fisheries Centre, fruit processing and packaging factory). In the field of industrial production, we will focus on attracting FDI for the development of agricultural product and seafood processing, electronics, apparel and support industries (mainly projects of agricultural machinery production and assembly, projects of producing parts, spare parts, semi-finished products for the last stage of manufacture and assembly in the manufacturing industry).
In parallel with setting direction for sectors, setting priorities for attracting investment, Can Tho City also will focus on promoting investment in the fields of competitive advantage to exploit the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), especially in the two areas of agriculture and trade - service. Can Tho will select projects of high quality, high added value, using modern, environment-friendly technology, especially in the field of information technology and biotechnology for agriculture; developing infrastructure, training human resources and high quality research and development of modern service.
On the other hand the city is also actively reviewing and preparing clean land to introduce to investors upon request; strengthening State management and supervision over investment activities post-licensed to be able to timely deal with cases of late or non-deployed implementation; Focusing on attracting projects of small and medium scale consistent with the competitive advantage of the city; at the same time promoting large-scale projects, products of high competitiveness, participating in global value chain of transnational corporations, upon which building and developing a system of support industry and business.
In addition, to increase investment, the city will renovate and improve investment promotion, especially in-place investment promotion activities toward more saving and efficiency, to support and help remove difficulties for enterprises operating in the city. In parallel, the administrative reform will also continue to simplify investment - construction procedures, accelerating the improvement of the investment and business climate, and improving the provincial competitiveness index.
As the core city, the centre of trade - service - tourism, industry, education – training, medical, science – technology and culture - sport of the Mekong Delta, efforts to improve FDI attraction will become a driving force for the city in the implementation of socioeconomic development strategy, contribute to the realisation of the goal of sustainable development of the city in the future.