Radical proposals for special zones

The abolition of people’s councils, permitting casinos to be set up and allowing foreign investors to lease land for 99 years are among the main provisions of a proposed new law to govern the three special zones in Việt Nam.

Speaking at the 2017 M&A Forum organised on Thursday by the Việt Nam Investment Review, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng said in recent years many important laws have been enacted or are being drafted.

The Special Administrative Economic Zone Law is expected to create a proper legal framework for the three zones in Vân Đồn (Quảng Ninh Province), Vân Phong (Khánh Hòa Province) and Phú Quốc (Kiên Giang), he said.

It aims to create a new development model with breakthrough policies and mechanisms meant to improve the investment environment and make Việt Nam competitive in attracting investment.

The zones will only have an administrative committee and no people’s council, and the latter’s role related to legislation and inspection would be taken over by provincial authorities, he said.

“To effectively operate these special zones, we should remove unnecessary and inappropriate levels of special economic zones.”

The ministry has also proposed increasing the maximum land lease tenure to 99 years from the current 50-75.

The zones will be allowed to have casinos.

Dũng said the zones have been established to develop certain strategic industries based on their geographic conditions.

For instance, Vân Phong is the best place to develop a transit port in Việt Nam and can develop logistics while Vân Đồn has great potential in healthcare, education and biology, he said.

All three would welcome industries with high value-addition, which would be identified for investment and announced soon, he said.

The bill would be tabled in the National Assembly for approval, he said.

The house will consider their provisions related to preferential treatment for investors in terms of currency, land, manpower, tax and others.

Businesses will enjoy a tax waiver for four years, tax cuts for 30 more years, low land rents and flexible labour policies.

Vân Phong covers an area of 66,000 hectares and is expected to become an international hub for marine transport, finance, tourism, medicine and education.

The three special zones are expected to contribute billions of dollars to the economy from 2020, and enjoy average per capita income of $12,000-13,000 by 2030.

The ministry said building the special zones had become an urgent task since in the last 25 years other models like industrial zones, processing zones, economic zones and hi-tech parks have not been sufficiently flexible.

Besides, the current models are not attractive enough for foreign investors and face shortcomings related to administrative procedures and poor human resources.

Since 1942, many countries have successfully developed special economic zones, special administrative zones, freedom cities and smart, industrial and hi-tech cities.

Việt Nam’s special administrative and economic zones would have positive effects on neighbouring countries too, the ministry said.

Source VNA

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