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  Marine areas not fully exploited

"Marine economic areas still now lag behind their potential," Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Van Duc said in Quang Ngai yesterday, March 19, at the second national marine brand-name forum.

"The country is not well-prepared to build national marine brands, from economic sectors to coastal localities and marine enterprises and products," said Duc.

Forum participants pointed out such problems as capital shortages, poor infrastructure, overloaded seaports, pollution and the lack of well-known marine economic products or promotion programmes for coastal economic zones.

They suggested that national programmes be developed to focus on the construction of brand names and that the Government consider policies to stimulate investment in marine products and services, including oil and gas, minerals, shipbuilding, sea transport and seafood.

The development of a system of deep-sea ports and coastal economic, industrial and urban zones would be an important motivator for progress, and they urged a comprehensive master plan for the development of territorial waters, coastal areas and islands be written with special importance attached to expanding infrastructure.

The country now has 14 coastal economic zones, which by the end of last year saw a combined investment capital of around US$40.5 billion from 550 projects, according to Ministry of Planning and Investment data.

The number of such zones were expected to rise to 18 within the next five years, and they were estimated to lure 1,500-2,000 investment projects with a total capital of nearly $100 billion by 2020.

Marine-related industries were targeted to contribute up to 55 per cent of the nations total gross domestic product (GDP) and 60 per cent to its export value by 2020.

The marine economy was expected to contribute over 80 per cent of the entire GDP of Quang Ngai Province by 2020, and about 85-90 per cent to its total export values, said provincial Peoples Committee chairman Nguyen Xan Hue.

He said that, with the implementation of the Strategies for the Sea, the province had reached significant economic achievements over the last few years.

The Dung Quat Economic Zone had contributed nearly half of the provincial budget during 2006-09, helping the province join the nations "VND4 trillion club" in terms of budget revenues in 2009, compared to only VND1 trillion in 2006.

The province was concentrating on expanding the zone, with a focus of building the Dung Quat II deep-sea port, integrated with heavy industry facilities.

The development of brand names for marine products and services, including seafood, minerals and tourism, would play an important role in assuring the sustainable development of the nations territorial waters and marine economic sectors, according to a Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment statement released at yesterdays conference.

"Marine brand names are not only a vital condition which is integrated into the development of enterprises and products in marine industries but also highlight that the nation expects to have the sea as a significant driving force for growth in the future," the statement said.

Date: 03/23/2010
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