External affairs - a mainstay for Lao Cai’s new development period

14/12/2021| 20:49

Promoting external affairs, international integration and cooperation has created a solid foundation for Lao Cai to firmly develop socio-economy in the current context.

External affairs - a mainstay for Lao Cai’s new development periodChairman of the People’s Committee of Lao Cai Trinh Xuan Truong and Ambassador of India to Viet Nam Pranay Verma witnessed the signing of an MOU between the Embassy of India and the provincial authorities for a project for construction of classrooms for the Trung Chai Kindergarten in Sa Pa on October 22, 2021

Special potential

The province has its own special potential and strengths that are expected to further drive local socio-economic development.

Actually, Lao Cai defines the border gate economy as the spearhead of local economic development. The province is located in the center of the Kunming-Lao Cai-Ha Noi-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh economic corridor, and is an “entrepot” for trade between Southwestern market of China with Viet Nam and ASEAN member states. This is also the shortest route (around 854km in length) connecting Kunming – the capital city of Yunnan province (China) – to a specific seaport.

With two pairs of international border gates and a number of auxiliary border gates and openings with Yunnan province of China along with a trans-regional traffic network (highways, railway, waterway, and airline in near future), the Lao Cai border gate economic zone covers an area of nearly 15,930 hectares. As one of eight major border gate economic zones invested by the Government, it is now fitted with almost full infrastructure and services.

The annual growth rate of goods imports and exports via Lao Cai remains above 20% (over 4 billion USD and 3.5 billion USD in 2020 and 2021, respectively). This number is expected to further increase dramatically once the Lach Huyen Port (Hai Phong city), which connects Southwestern China to the East Sea, is put into operation in the coming time.

Moreover, Lao Cai is able to promote its tourism strengths thanks to its unique terrain and climate as the province has many well-known landscapes such as Sa Pa, Bac Ha, and Bat Xat... along with a string of intangible and tangible cultural heritages such as the Hoang Lien mountain range with the 3,143-meter-high Fansipan peak (considered the roof of Indochina).

Between 2015 and 2019, the number of tourists visiting Lao Cai increased by 22% on average. However, due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of tourists to Lao Cai has fell sharply in 2020 and 2021.

Lao Cai boasts various high-value agricultural producing models such as pears, plums, peaches, flowers, temperate vegetables, cold-water fish, and especially medicinal trees (located in the national planning region), thanks to its ideal climate for the development of temperate plants.

With its abundant and diverse resources, Lao Cai has numerous advantages like over 35 types of minerals which have large reserves and high quality such as apatite, Quy Sa iron ore, Sin Quyen copper mine. In addition, the province also has dozen kinds of other rare minerals such as gold, silver, precious stones, and lead.

The province’s industrial parks and clusters have reported an average occupancy rate of over 95%. Among them, the Tang Long Industrial Park, as the Viet Nam’s largest metallurgical and chemical industrial park, has numerous significant processing industry projects in the province, such as: a copper smelting plant with a capacity of 10,000 tons/year (currently increasing the capacity of 20,000 tons/year); the diammonium phosphate fertilizer (DAP) plant No.2 with a capacity of 330,000 tons/year; the Lao Cai Iron and Steel Factory with a capacity of 1 million tons/year; and 20 factories processing fertilizers, chemicals of all kinds...

External affairs - a mainstay for Lao Cai’s new development periodChairman of the People’s Committee of Lao Cai Trinh Xuan Truong.

Paving the way for international integration and cooperation

The tasks for the new period of 2020-2025 are defined in the Resolution of the 16th Provincial Party Congress: “Building Lao Cai for comprehensive development, becoming a center and bridge for economic trade, for external relations between Viet Nam, ASEAN countries, and the Southwestern region of China”.

In the current context, Lao Cai flexibly took actions in accordance with practical conditions, adhering to the country’s external affairs policy and guidelines. Therefore, external affairs work has paved the way for the province to strengthen international economic cooperation and integration, such as cooperation and exchanges between provincial leaders and embassies of countries in Viet Nam, especially from the UK, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Denmark, and India.

Lao Cai’s authorities also actively met with representatives from the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), French Development Agency (AFD), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)... in Viet Nam to promote investment in the province. The province considers these activities an opportunity to expand cooperation with foreign localities, especially the special relationship with Gyeongsan city of the RoK.

There are 28 ODA programs and projects in the province, in which, 11 have been continued from their previous period 2010-2015 while the remainder recently been started.

In line with strengthening traditional ties between Lao Cai and Yunnan, the province also actively set up new relationships with foreign organizations and localities such as Nouvelle Aquitaine (France), Vancouver (Canada) and provinces of Southwestern China. Via these activities, Lao Cai signed more international agreements, notably a joint cooperation program with Nouvelle Aquitaine, to serve as a foundation for facilitating local development in various fields.

Thanks to effectively boosting international cooperation, Lao Cai has lured a large amount of foreign investment capital to help develop its socio-economy. At present, 29 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects are operational with total registered capital of 624.81 million USD. These projects are in fields of trade, mining industry, processing, tourism-service, and agro-forestry and aquaculture. Among them are several outstanding businesses, such as Victoria Sa Pa Resort and Spa with annual revenue of about 3 million USD or Topas EcoLodge eco-tourism complex with annual revenue of tens of billions of VND.

In 2021 alone, Lao Cao granted investment licenses to 28 domestic investment projects with total capital of 5,726.66 billion VND. The effective disbursement of investment capital has created a motive power for the province’s economic growth, making contributions to further attract more social venture capital. In the period of 2016-2020, the total amount of social venture capital reached nearly 135,000 billion VND, up over 20% yearly; while that number in 2021 was more than 40,000 billion.

Despite the severe impact of COVID-19 on the province’s socio-economy in 2021, Gia Lai still recorded considerable growth of industrial production. The local industrial production value increased equally in three sectors, namely mining, processing-manufacturing, and power-water supply. At the same time, trade and commerce, transportation services, and logistics also earned achievements and effectively expanded their market share.

The achievements in external affairs work reaffirm that leaders of Lao Cai have applied flexibly and creatively higher levels’ directions and instructions instruction to the local reality. Meanwhile, this also expresses the solidarity and determination of the whole people in the province, trying their best to successfully complete all set targets, contributing to building up Lao Cai to become a successful story in effectively promoting international cooperation relations, developing the socio-economy, and maintaining social order and security.