Inflows into the Vietnam’s central provinces this year hit 1.5 billion USD from 66 projects, bringing total foreign direct investment (FDI) capital to 25.5 billion USD.

Trinh Minh Van, director of the Trade and Investment Promotion Centre for Central Region, was quoted by Vnexpress online newspaper as saying that the central region has attracted several large scale FDI projects, despite the world economic downturn.

Worthy of note was Binh Dinh province which attracted the Russian Bus Industrial Centre Company investing 1 billion USD in building a bus spare parts production and assembly plant.

The first phase of the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), with a total investment of 125 million USD, started its construction in Quang Ngai province.

The Vung Ro oil refinery project in Phu Yen has increased its investment capital from 1.7 billion USD to 3.2 billion USD, and a 30 billion USD oil refinery project is planned for Binh Dinh province.

Le Huu Loc, chairman of the Binh Dinh People's Committee, told the newspaper that several investors from Russia, Japan and the Republic of Korea have been meeting with Petroleum Group of Thailand for the Nhon Hoi project.

Loc added that international consultants have conducted a feasibility study to submit their report to relevant ministries and agencies for approval in April. Thailand Shongkala University and Quy Nhon University signed a contract on training human resources for the project.

He said Japanese businesses have also been interested in building some seafood processing plants, a garment and textile centre and the Hai Giang tourism site with a 1.5km cable system installed in the province.

Meanwhile, Quang Ngai has expected that VSIP would attract more FDI in the coming years, as it comes into operation.

Cao Khoa, of the provincial People's Committee, said VSIP has attracted five foreign investors after only three months following its inauguration.

These included the Philippines URC Central Company, with a 35 million USD factory to produce Jack&Jill potato chips; Chinese Kingmaker Footwear and Hebei Xindadong Garment and Textile, with 20 million USD and 60 million USD footwear factories, respectively.

The investors were expected to provide jobs for 11,000 local workers.

In addition, the Philippines Liwayway Marketing and OceanMaster Engineering Group also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on building a food processing factory.

Dung Quat Economic Zone (EZ) has attracted more than 10 billion USD of FDI, of which 5 billion USD has been disbursed. It targets to attract around 15 billion USD in FDI by 2015, generating 25,000 jobs and contributing 25 trillion VND (1.19 billion) to the State budget.

The province has proposed to apply a city model for the EZ (Economic Zone) to overcome the existing shortcomings of the current multilevel management.

Le Van Dung, deputy head of the EZ's management board, told the newspaper that the Ministry of Planning and Investment was going to submit its proposal for construction of a 4.5 billion USD steel factory to the Prime Minister for approval.

The project is a joint venture between Japanese JFE Steel and Taiwanese E-United. If approved by the Prime Minister in parallel with the establishment of the oil refinery, a heavy-industry and rolling steel complex would bring a new life to the EZ, he said.-VNA