PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA • Issue 3 • May / June 2018 SHOW PREVIEW 57 With Binh Duong’s high economic growth and soaring per capita GDP, Tran Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Duong Province, shares about the growing opportunity in the city and the government’s commitment to take development further. B inh Duong is located in southeast Vietnam. The city is part of the Southern Key Economic Zone, which also includes Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Dong Nai, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Long An and Tien Giang. The gateway to Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong represents more than 50 per cent of furniture manufacturers in the country. In addition, with Vietnam signing the European Union (EU) - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), most handicrafts and furniture exported from the country to the EU will enjoy zero per cent tax. This is applicable to processed wood andwood products (three per cent effective before EVFTA), wooden boards (four per cent effective before EVFTA) and wooden decorations (three per cent effective before EVFTA). With the bilateral free trade agreements and rapid growth, the city is set to be one of the most dynamic developments in Vietnam. PFA : Can you share with us about the development of Binh Duong? TTL : Binh Duong is an industrial city with about 63 per cent of the city’s development for industrial and 23 per cent in services. Currently, the city has 31 industrial parks covering about 14,200 hectares along with a small industrial park that covers about 8,000 hectares. The total population of the city is about two million, of which about 1.1 million are from the surrounding provinces who came here to work. With this, we would like to invite factories and companies to join us in the industrial zones. We are currently planning an industrial zone for the furniture manufacturing industry; with 200 hectares for the first phase and another 200 hectares for the second. We would also like to give priority to investors who are looking to invest in the woodworking supporting industry. Mr Tran Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Duong Province PFA : Is the government providing additional support for the furniture manufacturing industry in Binh Duong? TTL : For furniture manufacturers located in the industrial zone, the government will exempt tax for the first four years, after which factories will enjoy a 50 per cent subsidy from the government for the next nine years. PFA : How will BIFA Wood Vietnam 2018 help Binh Duong? TTL : Mo s t o f t h e f u r n i t u r e manufacturers are located in Binh Duong so this is a good opportunity for them to learn about the latest technologies to develop their business. Our goal for Binh Duong is to grow the city into a hub in Southeast Asia where people from around the world can come here to look for the latest technologies in the furniture manufacturing industry. Getting to Binh Duong is convenient as it is only a 30-minute drive from the airport. PFA : What does the future of Binh Duong’s furniture manufacturing industry look like? TTL : We are looking at policies to support the growing industries here so we believe furniture manufacturing will definitely develop further in the coming years. We also receive strong support from our government to grow the industry. Last year, we saw a 15 per cent increase in investments fromTaiwan and China. We believe foreign investors will continue to grow by more than 20 per cent each year. With the rapid growth, Binh Duong will soon be the furniture and wood processing manufacturing cluster in Vietnam as well as in Asia.