HCMC seeks EU support for urban infrastructure development

VOV.VN - Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong has called for assistance from the European Union (EU) partners to help the city develop urban infrastructure, especially railway routes and Ben Thanh underground shopping centre.

At a working session in the city on June 14 with a delegation of EU ambassadors to Vietnam led by Ambassador Bruno Angelet, head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, the municipal leader suggested providing technical support for projects and conducting feasibility studies for them. 

As for the metro line No.2 project, Phong proposed the European Commission extend time for financial assistance reception to conduct feasibility studies for the project and adjust several terms in financial aid package to better suit construction progress and Vietnamese law. 

Since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 1990, Vietnam- EU ties have grown, as shown by the signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in 2012. 

As Vietnam’s largest metro area, Ho Chi Minh City is destined to become an economic, financial, trade, science-technology centre in the region. 

The city has worked out two schemes on turning itself into a smart city and international financial hub, thus creating a driving force for the southern key economic zone and the country’s economy in general. 

The EU now runs 1,081 valid projects worth US$3.95 billion in the city, primarily from the Netherlands with 136 projects valued at US$1.8 billion, the UK at US$ 617 million, Germany at US$286 million, Sweden at US$ 274 million and France at US$ 262 million. 

During the five-month period, 41 European projects were licensed with a total capital of US$ 26.82 million. 

Angelet expressed his impression on the city’s development in terms of infrastructure and business climate, and pledged to provide technical and financial support to the city in infrastructure projects. 

He said that the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is being finalized for the early signing, adding that once the deal comes into force, more Vietnamese goods will be available in EU market. 

Phong said he hopes that EU countries would expedite the ratification of the EVFTA. 

Under the EVFTA’s commitments, the city will review policies, boost administrative reform and pay attention to workforce training, he said, adding that it will also improve corporate competitiveness and capitalize on opportunities to enhance trade links with the EU in the near future. 

He pledged his best efforts to ensure a stable socio-political environment, legitimate rights and interests of investors as well as offer all best possible support for enterprises to do long-term business there. 

The two sides also consented to step up coordination in culture, education and people-to-people exchanges.