Photo: Duc Anh
Reports of $2.5 billion port and livestock project in economic zone being approved are incorrect, senior official tells VET.
North-central Ha Tinh province has denied reports it has agreed in principle to a Taiwanese investor building a port and livestock complex worth $2.5 billion.
Mr. Nguyen Phung Quang, Director of the Investment Promotion Center (IPC) at the Ha Tinh Department of Planning and Investment (DPI) said that provincial leaders “have not yet agreed in principle” to the project from Taiwan’s Wei Yu Engineering.
“The reports are not true,” Mr. Quang told VET. “The province has not yet announced anything publicly about the investor’s proposal. All reports have come from the investor.”
Wei Yu Engineering previously met with Ha Tinh leaders and proposed developing a port with capital of $1.5 billion and a livestock and food project with investment of $1 billion.
The Taiwanese investor asked to develop the projects on an area of 1,000 ha at the Vung Ang Economic Zone, where its compatriot, the Formosa Group, has been for many years.
The investor committed to using high technology and modern environmental protection facilities. The port’s logistics would cover 96.8 ha alone.
Mr. Quang said that Wei Yu Engineering had visited the potential site three times. “The first time was more than a year ago, when it reviewed locations and made some initial studies,” he said.
He also said the mooted $2.5 billion has not been clearly determined. “Other matters like the locations of the port, livestock center and even vegetable area are also unclear,” he told VET. “Everything is only at the feasibility study stage.”
Once all matters have been determined the question of licensing can then be addressed. “No one can say the exact timeframe for licensing at this point,” he said.
Previous reports about the project claimed that Wei Yu Engineering planned to develop a pork, chicken, and fruit and vegetable production area on 800 ha and an operations center and housing for expat workers on 80 ha.
Ha Tinh province and its DPI have been quoted as saying that they agreed to allow Wei Yu Engineering to review locations and conduct feasibility studies.
Many major Taiwanese investors are in the Vung Ang Economic Zone. The Formosa Group has invested $10.5 billion to date in a wide range of fields, including steel, ports, power, and plastics.
Mass fish deaths in the area in April and May were initially and unofficially blamed on the Formosa Group’s steel plant in the economic zone, as analysis of sea water revealed high phosphate and pH levels. Vietnamese authorities then stated that no link had been found between the plant and the fish deaths. The plant was later ordered to dig up and modify a waste pipe to allow easier monitoring by authorities.
In May the company was also reported to have systematically evaded taxes and claimed excess tax refunds through stating incorrect tax codes for imported equipment. VND1.55 trillion ($69.2 million) in tax refunds and VND5.5 billion ($245.54 million) in taxes were required to be paid to the government. A final report on the matter is yet to be released by authorities.
Taiwanese investors have invested some $29 billion in Vietnam to date, primarily in processing and manufacturing, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. During the first four months of 2016 Taiwan was ranked third among Vietnam’s sources of FDI, with $666 million.