Sustainably developing industrial and economic zones is one of the modern day pressing issues, since they are vital to the country’s socio-economic development as well as national defence and security.

To do this, long-term planning should be mapped out in a strategic fashion, experts suggested.

Le Van Khoa, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Industry and Trade, said the city is implementing economy restructuring projects between 2013 and 2020, focusing on building specialised industrial parks.

It recently began construction on a Vietnam-Japan hi-tech industrial park in Nha Be district to serve only Japanese businesses, he noted.

Infrastructure improvements at industrial and economic parks are set a major orientation in Resolution 13-NQ/TW of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Localities have been advised to build infrastructure efficiently and on schedule while seeking ways to mobilise investment capital in the field.

At a recent meeting of the Steering Committee on developing industrial and economic parks, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai asked localities and sectors to eliminate poorly performing industrial and economic parks, while speeding up the rate of occupancy and improving the operational efficiency of the parks.

He also requested policy revisions on developing industrial and economic zones at the local level and measures to deal with land use issues while increasing investigations on environmental protection at the parks.

According to experts, administrative reform is necessary to develop industrial and economic parks sustainably; they suggested fully implementing the one-stop-shop model.

So far, Vietnam is home to over 300 industrial parks, with the first established in 1991.

In 2014, industrial and economic parks attracted additional 752 projects and witnessed increased capital for 515 projects worth 14.7 billion USD.

The foreign direct investment (FDI) in manufacturing alone made up over 90 percent of the country’s total FDI.

By 2014, industrial parks nationwide have housed 5,573 FDI projects with a total registered capital of 85.5 billion USD with as much as 49 billion USD disbursed.

Meanwhile, coastal and border economic zones lured 70 FDI projects worth over 700 million USD.

In 2014, industrial and economic parks raked in over 118 billion USD in revenue, an annual increase of 18 percent, while export turnover stood at over 73.4 billion USD, up 43 percent.

Businesses in industrial and economic zones posted a trade surplus of 5.8 billion USD, a yearly increase of 24 percent, contributing 87 trillion VND (4 billion USD) to the State budget (up 31 percent) and generating jobs for 2.4 million workers (up 14.2 percent).-VNA