Export processing and industrial zones in Ho Chi Minh City are showing signs of recovery with increased investment and higher production levels, according to the city’s Export Processing and Industrial Zone Authority (Hepza).

In the first quarter of the year, local EPZs and IZs attracted a total investment of nearly 145 million USD, a year-on-year increase of more than 21 percent, said Ho Xuan Lam, Hepza’s office chief.

Of the total, he said that 123 million USD was from foreign investors, an increase of 80 percent compared to the same period last year. Domestic investors poured in nearly 22 million USD, a year-on-year decline of 57 percent.

During this period, about 12 projects received investment certificates to set up in local zones. Five others have been permitted to add capital.

Two new projects have been put into operation, and another is waiting for a construction licence.

“Production in the first quarter in these zones was more stable, with no bankruptcies or termination of operations,” Lam told the English language daily Vietnam News. “Some of the companies in food and foodstuff processing want to widen their investments.”

He said that several sectors, such as the building materials industry, still face challenges.

To help companies solve difficulties, Hepza promises to hold conferences to give companies located in Hepza a chance to discuss their problems with local authorities and officials in the banking and tax sectors.

Hepza also plans to open trade promotion fairs in regional countries such as Laos and Cambodia to widen export markets.

According to Lam, by the end of March, there were about 1,254 projects, worth a total of 7.3 billion USD, in local zones.

Of the total, foreign investors got involved in 495 projects with a total capital of nearly 4.4 billion USD. Domestic investors poured 2.9 billion USD into another 759 projects, he said.

Last year, due to tough economic conditions, investment in local industrial zones and export processing zones fell substantially compared with previous years.-VNA