Six provinces in the Central Highlands and coastal regions on Dec. 10 signed an agreement on socio-economic development in the period 2012 - 2020.

The agreement was inked by the central coastal provinces of Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan and the Central Highlands provinces of Lam Dong and Dak Lak.

The agreement, which focuses on improving the competitiveness of each province as well as the entire region, features six main areas with priority given to infrastructure development for road and rail transport, sea ports and aviation.

The six provinces will join hand to attract investment to build expressways between Dau Giay-Da Lat, Dau Giay Phan Thiet, and Phan Thiet-Nha Trang, and to upgrade a number of inter-provincial roads.

Under the agreement, the provinces will cooperate to upgrade coastal roads running from Binh Thuan through Ninh Thuan, Khanh Hoa to Phu Yen and build a road to transport bauxite from the Highlands provinces of Dak Nong and Lam Dong to Ke Ga Port in Binh Thuan Province.

A railroad will be built to link Tuy Hoa City in Phu Yen Province with Buon Ma Thuot City in Dak Lak Province , and the existing Thap Cham - Da Lat Railroad will be upgraded.

The provinces are expected to submit to the Government plans to expand the Lien Khuong Airport in Lam Dong Province and Phung Duc Airport in Buon Ma Thuot City into international airports.

Areas of cooperation will also include development of tourism, transport, investment promotion, aquaculture, agriculture and forestry, and product consumption.

The six provinces will also enhance cooperation on education and training, human resource development, healthcare, crime prevention and fighting, and forest management and protection.

The region plays an important role in the country's socio-economic development and political stability, national defence and security.

It has great potential in agricultural production and processing, forestry and aqua-products, and in energy industries, oil and gas exploitation and refinery, mining, shipbuilding and seas and mountainous tourism development.-VNA
The region also borders the southeastern ares, which is a large market that consumes products of the six provinces and a supplier of services to these coastal and central provinces, including finance, credit, import-export, training, healthcare and scientific and technological services