The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will help Vietnam become the regional hub of many foreign manufacturing companies, boosting the development of industrial zones in the country, Mr. Gellert Horvath, Vice Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocham) told a conference held by Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) on May 11 with the theme “Unlocking the Potential of a New Model of Living and Manufacturing in the North”.
He told those in attendance that compared to other countries in the region such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, Vietnam’s advantages lie in its favorable political and geographical location and its government adopting sound steps during its integration process.
“However, the restrictions that EU investors often face when investing in Vietnam is the complexity of licensing procedures and land procedures, which make it less competitive than those countries,” he added.
Vietnam is a great location for EU manufacturers to export their goods to Asian countries. Its industrial park network is therefore expected to grow strongly over the next few years. In order to welcome more foreign manufacturers, many industrial parks in Vietnam are boosting investment in infrastructure, including VSIP.
Mr. Victor Lim, Deputy Director of VSIP Bac Ninh, revealed a plan at the conference to build a smart city near the industrial park called the VSIP Bac Ninh Township Development Masterplan, which is a combination of manufacturing and living. “We are seeking opportunities to develop the area around the industrial park to become a smart city,” he said.
The master plan includes many categories: a sports hub, a golf driving range, the Belhomes landed housing project, a business hub cluster and park, a wet market, a shopping mall, a hotel, mid-end landed properties, a school complex, and worker housing. According to VSIP, many of these are calling for investment.
Mr. Horvath expressed his appreciation of the complex model and said he believes it is a model that Vietnam should develop in the future. “Having everything in one place is better for investors,” he said.
“Our company currently provides transport for workers from neighboring towns to industrial zones, but if there was workplace accommodation next to the industrial park it would be very good for us,” said Mr. Chua Ah Lay, Chairman and CEO of Santomas Vietnam, which has been in Vietnam for nearly 20 years.
VSIP was established in 1996 on the basis of cooperation and support between the two governments of Vietnam and Singapore. It was first proposed by Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet to Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore in March 1994. VSIP was officially launched on January 31, 1996 in Singapore. On May 14, 1996, the Prime Ministers gathered at the VSIP site to officiate the breaking ground ceremony.
Over the last two decades, VSIP has grown from strength to strength. It is now one of the largest developers of integrated industrial parks and mixed-use areas in Vietnam. It has operations in the southern, northern and central economic zones of Binh Duong, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Quang Ngai, Hai Duong, and Nghe An.
With a hassle-free one-stop service, VSIP has attracted about 690 companies from 30 economies, attracting investment capital of $9.1 billion and generating about 180,000 jobs from operating tenants.
The EU is currently Vietnam’s second-largest export market and Vietnam is the EU’s eleventh-largest source of imports. About 900 European enterprises have invested in Vietnam; the most in Southeast Asia.
VN Economic Times, Jun 2017