The actual development of coastal economic zones, as well as mechanisms and policies to step up their development were discussed at a seminar in Hanoi on August 27.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Planning and Investment show that Vietnam is now home to 18 coastal economic zones, which cover more than 730,000 ha of land and water surface, representing around 2.2 percent of the country’s total area.

By the end of 2010, almost 170 trillion VND had been invested in infrastructure at the coastal economic zones, which accommodate 130 FDI projects totalling over 25 billion USD and 650 domestic projects with a combined capital of almost 537 billion VND.

The seminar also pointed out the lack of a unified legal document on State management of the coastal economic zones, asynchronous infrastructure and difficulties in attracting investment capital.

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh stressed that the coastal economic zones were founded in 2003 and have been considered as one of the most important driving forces in implementing the country’s national industrialisation and modernisation.

The seminar is a preparation for reviewing 20 years of the establishment of industrial and economic zones, including the Chu Lai open economic zone, the first of its kind in Vietnam, he said.

However, the coastal economic zones are facing a big challenge, especially investment capital as they need up to 170 trillion VND.

To remove these difficulties, participants suggested that the construction of economic zones must be in line with the development needs of the targeted locality and the region./.