With its initial successes in economic growth and infrastructure construction, Dien Bien province is becoming an increasingly attractive investment environment for investors. The province sets great store by improving the investment environment to attract major projects. Vietnam Business Forum interviews Mr Mua A Son, Second Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee and Chairman of Provincial People’s Committee, on this matter. Trong Dat reports.
Overcoming existing barriers as one of the poorest provinces in the country, Dien Bien is trying to create a strong platform to attract investment capital. Could you talk about the province’s unique advantages for socioeconomic development?
One prominent advantage of Dien Bien is land potential. Of the total natural area of 956,290 ha, up to 225,594 ha remain unused, including about 189,000 ha of forestland. This vast fertile land and a diverse climate facilitate the development of highly valued agricultural and forest products.
Dien Bien is also blessed with a diverse terrain of rivers, lakes and beautiful scenery ideal for tourism development. The province offers famous tourism sites like Pa Khoang Lake, Muong Nhe Jungle, Muong Toong Jungle, Muong Phang Jungle, Pa Thom Cave, Tham Pua Cave, Hua Pe and U Va hot mineral springs (Dien Bien district), Sang village (Tuan Giao district), and Son La hydropower reservoir (Muong Lay district); together with historical and cultural sites like Muong Luan Tower, Tam Van Citadel, Ban Phu Citadel, Hoang Cong Chat Temple, and especially the world-renowned Dien Bien Phu battlefield.
Another advantage is that Dien Bien is the only province in the country to share national borders with the two countries of China and Laos. The province has two border gates with Laos, namely Huoi Puoc – Na Son border gate and Tay Trang – Sop Hun international border gate. It also has the A Pa Chai – Long Phu border gate with China. These are favourable conditions for investors to seek business opportunities, particularly in trade, export, import, and tourism development, with northern Lao provinces and southwestern China.
Based on its resources and advantages, what are the primary industrial sectors in Dien Bien province?
Endowed with favourable soil conditions for agricultural and forestry development, and having upgraded transport and electrical systems, Dien Bien has a strong advantage in developing processing industries. Rice, tea, wood, coffee and rubber are major local materials for processing industries.
The mining industry also opens development prospects thanks to a diversity of minerals like mineral water, coal, limestone, slate, granite, iron ores and non-ferrous metal. It has found 32 iron ore deposits, 14 coal mines, and plenty of building materials and mineral water. Another advantage for Dien Bien province is its hydropower potential. As the watershed of major rivers Da, Ma and Mekong, the steep sloping terrain and strong currents provide great potential of hydropower development. Some small and medium hydroelectric plants have been built in the province, but a vast potential remains untapped.
How has Dien Bien province prepared to build its investment attraction with infrastructure development and human resource quality improvement?
This is really a difficult problem, not only for Dien Bien province but also for the entire northwest region, when investors weigh the pros and cons of projects here. To deal with this difficulty, Dien Bien has exerted all its available resources to build and upgrade infrastructure systems, particularly traffic, electricity, water, and communication systems. It has cooperated with the Ministry of Transport to speed up construction of National Road 6, National Road 12, National Road 279, and National Road 6A to put them into service soon.
It also arranges capital for building infrastructure systems inside and outside industrial parks, border gate economic zones, and roads to communes.
Regarding human resources, local businesses are forecast to need 33,500 workers from now to 2015. To meet this demand, the province has directed the implementation of innovative education and training solutions.
How has Dien Bien employed mechanisms and policies of the Government to be more active in investment attraction in the coming period?
As Dien Bien is a poor province, investors are granted special incentives like tax breaks, preferential depreciation of fixed assets, loss transfer, land use, technology transfer, training assistance, support for investment service development, and support for infrastructure investment in industrial parks, hi-tech parks and economic zones when they do business here.
To encourage and promote investment, the province is committed to applying preferential policies, providing the most support as defined by the law. Besides, the province will reclaim, compensate and clear construction sites for investors. It will aid all expenses for site clearance and construction of centralised wastewater treatment facilities in industrial parks.
On the occasion of Vietnam Business Forum Magazine’s special edition entitled “Dien Bien – Dynamic to New Opportunities,” do you have any message to send investors considering coming to Dien Bien?
With huge untapped investment potential, consistent investment encouragement and support policies, increasingly favourable investment conditions, and high esteem of local authorities, Dien Bien province looks forward to cooperating with domestic and foreign investors to tap local strengths, particularly hydroelectricity, building material production, mining, agricultural and forestry development, infrastructure construction and operation for industrial parks, resorts, markets, commercial centres and hotels.
Dien Bien is a large province where people are very friendly and hospitable, and many advantages have not been tapped. The province expects to welcome more investors to unlock local potential for mutual benefit.
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