Vietnam’s major manufacturing city aims to establish first green economic zone


Vietnam’s Haiphong is a major hub for manufacturing industries. (Photo: iStock)

Haiphong, located in the northeast of Vietnam, is a major hub for manufacturing industries, not only has it maintained double-digit economic growth for nine consecutive years, but it also attracted 3.5 billion USD in foreign investment last year, ranking second in Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh City. Recently, Haiphong city government focused on sustainable economy with its proposal of “Southern Coastal Economic Zone” (EZ) and aims to become Vietnam’s first green economic zone.

Haiphong is one of Vietnam’s five municipalities and currently has 14 industrial parks (IPs) covering a total area of about 6,100 hectares. There is also the Dinh Vu-Cat Hai EZ with a total area of ​​22,540 hectares. These IPs and EZ have attracted numerous enterprises, with an overall occupancy rate of 63.8%. And there are a total of 688 investment projects, with a total capital of 36.32 billion USD.

The Dinh Vu-Cat Hai EZ, established in 2008, has attracted many large enterprises through various incentives. By the end of 2023, the total investment in the zone amounted to approximately 31 billion USD, with over 60% of foreign investment, including Korean conglomerate LG Group, Taiwan tech giant Pegatron, Hong Kong lingerie manufacturer Regina Miracle, Japanese Fujifilm, and Japanese ceramics and electronics manufacturer Kyocera.

The Southern Coastal EZ is one of Haiphong’s key development projects for the period 2021-2030. It is seen as having the potential to replicate the remarkable achievements of the Dinh Vu-Cat Hai EZ.

According to the plan, the Southern Coastal EZ will cover a total area of about 20,000 hectares, which is about 90% of the size of the Dinh Vu-Cat Hai EZ. This EZ will utilize Nam Do Son Port and Tien Lang International Airport in Thien Lang District as its hinterland. Before becoming a free trade zone, the priority development will focus on industrial parks, international logistics centers, and coastal cities.

Hai Phong City has accumulated considerable experience in green and circular economy. The city collaborated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO - Switzerland) to scale up eco-industrial parks. The DEEP C IP (Dinh Vu) and the Nam Cau Kien IP mostly host low-pollution enterprises, serving as models for other sustainable IPs in Vietnam.

Officials have not disclosed specific green requirements for the companies. However, they have provided lists of recommended and non-recommended investment projects. Projects that cause pollution risks will not be permitted.

Le Trung Kien, Head of the Hai Phong EZ Management Board, revealed that investors have already conducted research on the new EZ, with an expected investment of 2.5 billion USD for development. Haiphong city government has also signed various memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with the ports of Los Angeles, New York, and New Jersey to develop complex areas covering ports, airports, cities, industries, energy, and logistics, with a scale of approximately 5-10 billion USD.

Hai Phong EZ Management Board estimates, the new economic zone’s production capacity by 2030 has the potential to reach 80% of the production capacity of the Dinh Vu-Cat Hai EZ in 2023.

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