In evaluating the development of industrial parks in Vietnam, analysts have not only confirmed the importance of industrial and export processing zones but also assessed the difficulties and possible solutions.

Data from the Department of Economic Zones Management at the Ministry of Planning and Investment shows that Vietnam has established 335 industrial parks on a total area of 97,840 hectares, of which 260 are in operation and 75 are in the process of construction. The overall occupancy rate at industrial parks is 53.5 per cent, with the rate at operating parks being more than 76 per cent.

According to Dr. Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam International Arbitration Center (VIAC), as Vietnam moves towards industrialization and modernization, industrial and export processing zones play an important role in attracting investment in manufacturing and contributing to the State budget.

However, looking back over the development of industrial and export processing zones, there remain many weaknesses, such as there being too few large zones and a shortage of adequate infrastructure to develop key industries and modern services, making it difficult to attract major investors from Europe and North America.

Mr. Bui Le Anh Hieu, Director of Business Development at the Long Hau Joint Stock Company, owner of the Long Hau Industrial Park in the Mekong Delta’s Long An province, acknowledged many industrial parks are planned with empty ground or rudimentary factories and lack the necessary connections and services for production.

The issues investors care about, he said, are investment location, logistics infrastructure, time, and rental costs. “In order to attract high-quality FDI in industrial and export processing zones, more institutional reforms are needed, especially on upgrading services to create better conditions for investors,” he added.

From the perspective of a foreign investor, Mr. Kenji Usuda, General Director of the Kyouwa Company from Japan, said the company encountered many difficulties in the process of investing in Vietnam, including access to investment information and matters surrounding human resources. To attract investors to industrial and export processing zones, he believes, Vietnam must improve the quality of its human resources.