The southern province of Binh Duong is making every effort to improve the environment for investment, production and business in a bid to boost its provincial competitiveness index (PCI), according to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Thanh Cung.

The PCI ranking recently announced by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows that the PCI of the province, one of the biggest economic hubs in the south fell behind 29 other localities nationwide. Despite this, the locality’s investment environment has seen a remarkable improvement in recent times.

According to Mai Hung Dung, director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, there are over 2,276 foreign enterprises operating in the province, making up more than 80 percent of the local industrial production sector.

In the first three months of 2014, foreign direct investment (FDI) poured into the locality accounted for 44 percent of the country’s total FDI, up two times against the same period last year.

Preliminary data showed that the production and export index saw strong increases in the first quarter of this year, with 12.3 percent and 12.7 percent rises in industrial production and export respectively.

The province has licensed 363 domestic enterprises worth 2 trillion VND (94 million USD) so far this year, while up to 56 FDI projects were granted investment licenses and registered to raise existing capital, with a total investment of 728 million USD during the last three months.

The performance shows investors had faith in Binh Duong’s investment environment and that the province is eager to support investors as part of its efforts to continually improve its business climate

The province recorded GDP growth of 12.8 percent last year and is targeting 13 percent growth for this year. It is predicted that the industry sector will grow 16 percent, trade and services 20 percent, and agriculture 4 percent this year, up on last year’s results of 8.7 percent, 19.6 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.

The PCI programme is part of the US Agency for International Development’s Vietnam Competitiveness Initiative (USAID/VNCI), which has been implemented since 2005. All 63 provinces and cities have used PCI to devise their own economic policies and development strategies.-VNA