Major breakthroughs should be made for economic zones as most of them have not yet fulfilled their role as the motive force behind the economy, said economic experts.

The experts blamed the situation on the lack of a legal framework, infrastructure investment capital and necessary conditions to begin to call for investment in large-scale and strategic projects.

Vietnam now has 13 economic zones (EZs), covering nearly 590,000 ha in total.

These EZs have primarily been built in central coastal provinces, including Nghi Son in Thanh Hoa province, Dong Nam Nghe An in Nghe An province, Vu Ang in Ha Tinh province, Hon La in Quang Binh province, Chan May-Lang Co in Thua Thien-Hue province, Chua Lai in Quang Nam province, Dung Quat in Quang Ngai province, Nhon Hoi in Binh Dinh province, Van Phong in Khanh Hoa province and Nam Phu Yen in Phu Yen province.

In addition, there are two EZs in the Red River Delta, namely Van Don in Quang Ninh province and Dinh Vu-Cat Hai in Hai Phong city, and two in the southern region: Phu Quoc and Nam An Thoi in Kien Giang province.

At present, only four EZs--Chu Lai, Dung Quat, Nhon Hoi and Chan May-Lang Co--have effectively completed overall and specific plans and started building their technical infrastructure while the others are still making plans and preparing conditions for calling for investment.

According to preliminary statistics, EZs have to date attracted 250 projects with a total registered capital of 27 billion USD, of which 60 projects, capitalised at 19 billion USD, are invested by foreign partners. Many of them are poured into such important areas as refining oil, laminating steel, shipbuilding, mechanical engineering and thermoelectricity.

Except for the Dung Quat, Chu Lai and Nghi Son EZs, where some large-scale projects have become operational and turned out products, most projects in the EZs are small-sized and invested by domestic enterprises.

Among all of them, Dung Quat is still valued as the most successful EZ as it has attracted a huge number of large-scale projects. This success is attributable to its favourable location, based at the former Dung Quat Industrial Park , and its well-developed socio-technical infrastructure, especially the Oil Refinery Plant No. 1.

To turn these EZs into dynamic economic entities which contribute more to the national economy, experts said that the EZs should have more outstanding economic institutions than other regions and good socio-technical infrastructure to attract large investors./.