More local and foreign investors are seeking investment opportunities in the country's industrial, economic and export processing zones, underlining the need for these zones to improve their internal infrastructure.

The assessment was made by head of the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Foreign Investment Agency Do Nhat Hoang.

Over the past 20 years, industrial, economic and export processing zones have become an attractive destination for investors, especially foreign ones.

As of early this year, the country's 280 established industrial and export processing zones had drawn above 64.8 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI), according to head of the ministry's Economic Zones Management Department Vu Dai Thang.

Over half of the total had been already disbursed. Annually, FDI deposited in these zones accounted for between 40 and 45 percent of the total FDI registered in the country, he revealed.

Thang suggested the zones focus on attracting advanced technology projects as well as those that aim to strengthen industrial links between the zones.

Coastal economic zones have also seen increased interest from investors, he said, attracting 144 foreign-invested projects with capital totalling 38.4 billion USD.

These projects take up 40 percent of the zones' total area for industrial production, tourism and services, he added.

The export value of enterprises in industrial, economic and export processing zones accounted for 25-30 percent of the national export turnover in recent years.

But despite these encouraging achievements, many zones still find it difficult to attract FDI.

Chairman of the Foreign-Invested Enterprises Association Nguyen Mai said the legal framework for managing and developing the zones remained incomplete, and preferential policies had been revised several times after their issuance, resulting in difficulties for investors.

Other reasons cited were inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of skilled workers and ineffective investment promotion programmes.-VNA