The Southeast Region Economic Forum 2016 themed “International Integration – Grasping new opportunities for economic linkage and growth”

16 September 2016

The Forum also received the attention from individuals/organizations such as Director of Fulbright Economics Teaching Program; American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Vietnam, the European Business Association (Eurocham) in Vietnam, Consulate General of Australia, leaders of other agencies and associations.

 

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In particular, the program also had the presence of more than 300 enterprises from 9 provinces and cities in the region and more than 40 media agencies from the central to local levels. This is an annual forum for the business community in the key economic area – Southeast Region to meet and explore the opportunities and challenges of international integration, sharing experience in manufacturing, trade, expansion of cooperation ties between the business communities within the region and with businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. At the same time, the Forum also acts as the bridges between businesses - policy makers, experts so to formulate appropriate policies that timely support and promote the development of this key economic region.

 

The Southeast region is comprised of 9 provinces and cities: HCMC which is an economic, commercial, services, and tourism center – the country’s largest international trade hub; Vung Tau – a port city which is the country’s large sea tourism center with the trans-Asia road running through, a transit point of international air routes from North to South and from East to west, on the trans-Asia route connecting with the mainland Southeast Asian countries; simultaneously, located near the Asia’s most dynamic economies/major centers like Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur ... Therefore it can be said that the Southeast region has a big advantage in attracting foreign investment, expanding market to accelerate its socio-economic development. Also, the region’s geopolitical position and national security are of prime importance in the Southern Vietnam.

 

Mr. Cao Duc Phat, Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission when addressing the Forum noted that the region’s economic development has not met its potential and advantages and pointed to growth quality, human resources, infrastructure and regional connectivity as areas in need of improvement. Despite its status as one of key economic regions, institutions and mechanisms for economic coordination and linkage are absent, he said. Doan Duy Khuong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the region should strive for strong intra-region economic linkage in order to optimize its advantages. Dang Xuan Quang, Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, stressed the need to increase linkages with other regions, particularly the Mekong Delta and the Central-Central Highlands regions, to expand market and create supply chains. He also stressed the need to train a workforce of regional and international capability, considering it as one of breakthrough solutions to ensure the region’s sustainable development.

 

The Forum reserved a session for Mr. Dau Anh Tuan – Head of Legal Department/VCCI to speak about PCI of the Southeast region. He noted that the PCI 2015 results show positive transformations in business environment improvement of the region. PCI 2015 score of the Southeast region in comparative correlation with other regions across the country is as follows: the Red River Delta 59.42 points; Central Coast Region 59.34 points; Mekong Delta 59.16 points; Southeast region 58.74 points; Highland Area 56.08 points; Northwest 55.87 points. Although placed at the 4th position, but compared to other regions, many PCI sub-indices’ scores of the Southeast are even way lower. Specifically, Market entry 8:26 points; Access to land 5.96 points; Transparency 6:43; Time costs 6.77; Informal charges 5:10; Policy bias 5:08; Proactivity 4:52; Business support services 5:54; Labor quality 5.82; Legal institutions 5:54 points. According to Mr. Tuan, in 2015, the administrative procedure reforms in Southeast region saw many bright spots, access to information is considered relatively favorable.

 

Along with that, the role of business associations has been strengthened. In particular, the past year has noted proactivity and creativity of the Southeast region governments. Specifically, the local governments have been more flexible within their legal framework in order to create a favorable business environment for private enterprises as well as more creative in solving new arising problems. However, there remains a fact that “there are good initiatives in the province but they are not effectively implemented by provincial departments” or “the provincial policies are good but improperly implemented at district level”. Also, as reported by foreign invested enterprises, policy uncertainty remains low while the infrastructure and public services have been assessed to be better. In 2015, corruption was lower, regulations were less burdensome, tax rates and risk of asset expropriation were lower as well. Other officials and economic experts speaking at the forum have emphasized regional connectivity as the key to sustainable economic development in the southeast region which is expected to become the locomotive of the country’s economy under a master plan until 2020.

 

PCI Team






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