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Cao Bang is a mountainous province with a more than 333 km long border shared with China. The province has Ta Lung International Border Gate and three main border gates (Tra Linh, Soc Giang and Ly Van) together with many side gates and open routes along the border line. These connections are an advantage for the province to develop cross-border trade and exchange of goods with China. To tap this advantage and potential of border gate areas, Cao Bang province has focused its investment capital to build infrastructure for border gate economic zones and introduced cross-border trade policies to boost socioeconomic development.
Currently, investment flows into Cao Bang province-based economic zones have increased strongly because potentials are appropriately tapped. In 2012 and in the first six months of 2013, many investors came to the province to explore investment opportunities in economic zones. Specifically, the Cao Bang Economic Zone Authority has granted investment certificates to 24 projects, including 21 domestic projects (VND713.6 billion) and three foreign-led projects (US$17.5 million). As of September 30, 2013, Cao Bang province-based economic zones and industrial zones housed 41 investors registering to invest in 48 projects, including 39 domestic projects (VND2,629 billion) and nine foreign-led projects (US$32.8 million). Ta Lung Border Gate Economic Zone has 20 operating projects.
Recent economic crisis wrecked production and business performances in the province in general and in border gate economic zones and industrial parks in particular. Before this reality, the Cao Bang province Economic Zone Authority has proactively advised the provincial government on mechanisms and policies in a bid to create the most favourable conditions for businesses and individuals to do business in border-gate economic zones and industrial parks. Particularly, the province issued regulations on the management of border trade activities, regulated investment policies, coordinated with localities to quicken site clearance, and stepped up administrative procedural reform. Thanks to timely adjustments to investment and business environment improvement policies, business operations of investors in border gate economic zones have made important progress. In the first nine months of 2013, projects in border gate economic zones reported a 29.81 percent increase in import and export turnover and a 64.58 percent rise in tax payments over the same period of 2012. They also created many jobs for local workers.
In the coming time, according to the Prime Minister’s Decision 1513/QD-TTg dated August 30, 2013 on approval of the scheme “Reviewing and adjusting Vietnam border gate economic zone development plan to 2020, with a vision to 2030,” the Prime Minister agreed to merge the province’s three border gate economic zones into Cao Bang Border Gate Economic Zone. The Cao Bang Economic Zone Authority will advise the provincial government on the scheme on the establishment of joint border gate economic zone to harness all economic benefits they generate.
The formation of a joint border gate economic zone will be an open direction for socioeconomic development, unify management, promote economic development, stabilise population and strengthen national security and defence, and formulate comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and China. Especially, the formation of cross-border trade belts and freight transportation corridor from the southwest of China (Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou and Guangxi) to ASEAN countries and vice versa through Tra Linh International Border Gate of Cao Bang and via Hai Phong seaport will generate socioeconomic development momentum for border gate economic development in particular and for the socioeconomic development of Cao Bang province in general in the 2015 – 2020 period.