Ba Ria-Vung Tau expands foreign affairs, attracts investment

17:10 | 10/03/2015 Economy

(VEN) - A growing number of investors are paying more attention to the advantages and potential for economic development in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province thanks to the province’s good relations with foreign countries and territories. Acting Director of the Foreign Affairs Department for the province Le Thi Tan Tien talked with Vietnam Economic News’ Hung Anh about the main achievements that the province has secured in recent years.

What are the outstanding achievements in terms of foreign affairs and trade relations between Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and foreign countries?

The province has recently developed good relations and signed cooperation agreements with a number of foreign countries and territories such as the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia, France, Canada, and Australia.

In addition, the province participated in various trade fairs, conferences, and seminars seeking investment opportunities in countries throughout Asia and Europe as well as Australia. It also dispatched research groups to Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia to boost cooperation in fishery and tourism.

As for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the recent cooperation with regional countries has developed quite effectively. Thailand has become the third largest investor in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, after the US and Canada, in major areas such as energy, engineering, aquaculture, and the processing of seafood and agricultural products. Meanwhile, the province has also stepped up cooperation with Singapore in oil and gas exploitation, steel and fertilizer production, tourism and education; and with Malaysia and Brunei in the plastic industry, production and services in construction materials, oil and gas and chemicals.

Regarding European countries, cooperation between the two sides has mainly been in the treatment of household waste and environmental hygiene which has helped improve the environmental conditions throughout the province and has raised the standard of living for many local people.

As for the US, this is the biggest investor in the province with large projects in the tourism sector such as the Ho Tram Strip and Saigon-Atlantic projects. The US investment is expected to raise the local tourism sector to a higher level with a variety of services and a higher quality of service. Of those, the Ho Tram Strip project in Xuan Moc District is expected to act as a lever for the development of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and the neighboring regions.

How has the provincial Foreign Affairs Department cooperated with relevant agencies in gathering information, selecting and examining foreign investors and partners as they undertake their business operations here?

With advantages in terms of favorable roads and good infrastructure, as well as being located in the Southern Key Economic Zone, Ba Ria-Vung Tau has attracted a large number of foreign investors. To date, the province has received 295 projects with total registered capital of nearly US$27 billion. However in reality, only 35 percent of the registered capital has been implemented as many projects were revoked upon examination. Therefore, the examination of an investor’s information and capabilities is very important. The provincial Foreign Affairs Department maintains regular contact with representatives of Vietnam’s foreign affairs agencies abroad and those of foreign agencies in Vietnam. It also keeps an open line of communication with the province’s relevant agencies which has helped weed out several incapable investors.

These moves by the department helped local enterprises feel secure when doing business with foreign investors and guarantee a safe and efficient investment environment.

What are your plans for a strategy on cultural diplomacy from now to 2020?

The provincial Foreign Affairs Department has advised the provincial People’s Committee to issue Decision 956/QD-UBND dated May 12, 2014 on plans to carry out the cultural diplomacy strategy until 2020. This is being implemented in every locality and governmental agency in the province. The department has also collaborated with local relevant agencies and international organizations to perform cultural programs such as the Japanese Film Week, the Vietnam-Republic of Korea cultural exchange program, and the international kite festival. In addition, the department has taken the initiative to combine diplomatic with cultural activities by mobilizing international television channels and press agencies to advertise the image of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province in countries that the province cooperates with. In particular, the department will focus more on training and improving skills of the editing and translating staff using the languages of the ASEAN block to facilitate its increased integration when participating in the ASEAN’s cultural community in 2015.