Since 2007, when the prime minister issued Decision 162/2007/QD-TTg on Cau Treo international border economic zone’s operational rules, its production and business activities have been vibrant with committed investment capital enjoying a five-fold increase compared to previous period 1999-2007.
The EZ is now home to 158 businesses, up 32 entities against 2011 and 22 units more than projection in parallel to around 1,200 household businesses.
In 2012, Cau Treo Border EZ Authority licenced seven investment projects worth VND183 billion ($8.7 million) in committed capital, bringing the total licenced projects to 19 valued at $145 million in total committed capital.
The EZ reaped $183 million in total export value in 2012, a 58 per cent jump against 2011, while budget revenue surged 63.3 per cent - showcasing the EZ management’s great efforts in handing its tasks and governance activities.
However, the EZ needs further attention and investments as many local technical infrastructure projects have yet to finish construction due to capital distress.
This has turned off investors.
For example, by 2010 unfinished projects lacked more than VND1 trillion ($48 million), while VND500 billion ($24 million) from state supportive credit sources is needed to build some more essential infrastructure in the list of priority projects under Decision 961/QD-TTg dated June 25, 2010 approving Cau Treo EZ construction general planning.
Critical capital shortages for technical infrastructure construction have hindered EZ efforts to charm investors.
Besides, state policies towards EZ development are often inconsistent and overlapping which has afflicted the mindset of businesses and potential investors.
In addition, hilly terrain made Cau Treo EZ less attractive compared to other coastal EZs.
Thereby, border EZs and Cau Treo EZ are seeking bigger investment incentives compared to those applied to coastal or plain EZs.
Comprehensive studies are also required for enactment of consistent policy groups targeting border EZ development compatible to Decision 162/2007/QD-TTg.
In the meantime it is necessary to hike state investment for building EZ infrastructure which is intertwined with other projects and programmes to support development of border villages.
The Ministry of Transport is expected to shortly instruct construction of National Highway 8A’s second phase, including the section crossing Cau Treo border EZ.
Cau Treo EZ is reportedly one of eight key EZs for priority investment during 2013-2015.
The EZ is part of National Highway 8A in the Vietnam-Laos border line, an important strategic position for socioeconomic development, defense and security in Ha Tinh and north central provinces.
National Highway 8A is considered to shortest way for Laos, northeastern Thailand and Myanmar to reach the East Sea and develop trade exchanges with countries in the region and the world through Vung Ang-Son Duong deep-water port complex in Ha Tinh province.
Cau Treo EZ also links sync to Ho Chi Minh trail and the North-South railway, comfortable for trade exchanges with different parts nationwide.
Hoai Huong (vir.com.vn)