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A report of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Can Tho Branch showed that there were 78 IZs and export processing zones (EPZs) in Mekong River Delta as of June 2016, with total area of 14,787 hectares.
However, only 3,688 hectares are occupied, while the remaining 11,099 hectares are idle. Meanwhile, all the IZs and EPZs are designed to be located close to the Tien and Hau Rivers, while large areas of orchards and fertile soil for rice fields will be cleared to make room for the IZs and EPZs.
There are many IZs which have not been able to attract investors for many years. The 57.4 hectare Xuan To IZ in An Giang province, planned in 2004, for example, still has been struggling hard to call for investors. The 121 hectare Hung Phu 1 and 67 hectare Hung Phu 2B IZ in Can Tho City and 15 out of 43 IZs in Long An province have also been left idle. Can Tho City has 8 IZs with total area of 2,267 hectares, but has leased 567.2 hectares only to 220 projects, capitalized at nearly US$2 billion in total. These include only 21 foreign invested projects with total investment capital of US$198.4 million. The occupancy rate in some IZs is very modest, just 12%-13%.
According to Nguyen Van Hong, director of the Can Tho City Planning and Investment, the average land rent in the IZs in Can Tho City is high, at US$80 per square meter at least.
The level is higher than that offered by IZs in neighboring provinces, at US$40 per square metre.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Minh Toai, director of the Can Tho City Industry and Trade Department, attributes the lack of investors to poor infrastructure conditions. The city has waterways, road and air transport systems, but the items are not developed in an effective way. Foreign investors hesitate to invest in Can Tho because there is no air route from their home countries to the city.
Meanwhile, enterprises have to pay an additional sum of US$10 per ton to carry goods from Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City before shipping goods abroad.
Deputy director of VCCI Can Tho Nguyen Phuong Lam pointed out that the IZ density in Mekong Delta is high with 78 IZs and EPZs in 13 cities and provinces. He believes that the existence of too many IZs is a big waste of the land fund.