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Vietnam seeks measures to promote FDI in the Mekong Delta

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HANOI, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment held a conference on Thursday in Vietnam's southern Can Tho city on building a special mechanism to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the Mekong River Delta,the country's rice bowl, Vietnam News Agency reported.

The Mekong Delta is Vietnam's largest rice-producing region. It is located in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. Last year, the Mekong Delta experienced economic growth of 10.08 percent, as compared to the average 5.2 percent growth of the whole country.

However, according to a report by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the region is slow in attracting FDI.

In the 1998-2009 period, the region lured about 8 billion U.S. dollars in FDI, accounting for only 4 percent of the country's total FDI during this period. Weak transportation infrastructure and low quality of human resources hindered its ability in FDI attraction, said the report.

Representatives at the meeting said the Vietnamese government should focus on developing the region's four prioritized fields including rice growing, aquaculture work, fruit growing and tourism development as they are the Mekong Delta's strengths.

The government should build a network of roads linking all the provinces in the region and connecting it with the country's southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City, they said.

Transportation is of great importance to economic development of the region in general and to FDI attraction in particular,said the representatives. The government should also have private sectors get engaged in roadway constructing by carrying out Build- Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme and Build-Transfer (BT) scheme, they said.

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