13:00 | 04/08/2020 Cooperation
(VEN) - Mekong Delta provinces are promoting regional links and international cooperation in order to implement Vietnam’s free trade commitments and boost local development in the country’s south.
Mekong Delta’s GRDP expands 2.08 percent
The Mekong Delta’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) grew 2.08 percent in the first half of the year, the lowest level in the past decade, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the reviewed period, 4,567 new enterprises were set up, down 2.9 percent year-on-year, while exports reached US$6.93 billion, a drop of 3.15 percent compared to a year ago.
Nguyen Phuong Lam, director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) branch in Can Tho City, said the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously affected businesses in the Mekong Delta region and local governments have made greater efforts to respond to their needs. In fact, Mekong Delta’s GRDP growth of 2.08 percent in the first half of the year was higher than the national average.
Regarding exports, the pandemic did not affect all commodities equally. For example, the region exported 3.09 million tonnes of rice for US$1.5 billion in the first five months of the year, an increase of 12 percent in volume and 26.6 percent in value. In addition, medical equipment and supplies also recorded export growth.
Collagen and other new export items
Nguyen Phuong Lam said the government has launched many financial and social security support packages for businesses and people affected by Covid-19. In addition, administrative and institutional reforms have been accelerated in order to create the most favorable business conditions.
To utilize opportunities provided by free trade agreements, especially the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Mekong Delta provinces have strengthened regional links and promoted international cooperation in agriculture, trade, labor export, education, health and border security.
Mekong Delta provinces have strengthened trade promotion activities in order to sustain traditional markets, find new markets and exploit the lucrative domestic market. To date, the region’s exports are available in more than 150 countries and territories. To diversify exports, in addition to traditional goods such as rice, seafood and fruit, the provinces are also exporting new high added value items such as collagen, fish oil and processed food. These items are expected to benefit most from new-generation free trade agreements.
The implementation of free trade agreements has boosted the development of the region’s manufacturing industries. Many businesses have upgraded their technologies and applied advanced production processes according to international standards, such as ISO, HACCP, ASC, BRC, BAP and GlobalGAP in order to improve competitiveness and meet market demands. The local industry and trade sector has also strengthened information dissemination to help businesses understand and meet the technical requirements of export markets.
PM sets up coordination body
To enhance the effectiveness of inter-regional cooperation programs, the prime minister decided to establish the Mekong Delta Coordinating Council for the 2020-2025 period, to be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung. The council is responsible for putting forward mechanisms, policies, strategies, plans, projects, programs and tasks to achieve sustainable and climate-resilient development of the region. It assists the prime minister in directing and overseeing the implementation of the regional master plan, strategies, mechanisms, policies, projects and programs. The council is also tasked with organizing regional investment, trade, tourism promotion events.
The Council for Mekong Delta Enterprise Associations is also responsible promoting links and cooperation among associations in the region, enhance the role of associations in dialogue with local governments, and give advice on economic reforms and business environment improvements.