Tensions are running high inside an industrial park in southern Vietnam as dozens of companies operating there have protested a fee that they say is unreasonably high, leading to threats and retaliation from the property's manager.
In a complaint sent to Long An Province authorities, food producer Tango Candy Ltd. said the management of Tan Duc Industrial Park has recently announced a so-called infrastructure fee of more than VND10,000 (45 US cents) a square meter a year.
Companies located in the park will have to retroactively pay for the past three years.
“The fee is too high and we have asked the company to lower the rate, but it has instead blocked our entrance and cut off our water supply,” Tango Candy said. The Japanese-owned company has a 5,000-square-meter facility there.
A representative of Tan Duc Company, the park's manager, confirmed that it is trying to collect the fee. "We have the right to do so because we need money to pay for the infrastructure."
The source said companies failing to pay up will have their water and power supply cut off.
There are 153 companies operating inside the park and 66 of them are foreign businesses. More than 30 have refused to pay the fee.
The companies did not contractually agree to the fee when entering the park, according to Tango Candy.
Nguyen Van Trieu, an official in charge of managing industrial parks in Long An Province, said he has consulted the central government.
Affected businesses, including foreign investors, are concerned and this will "affect the province’s investment environment," Trieu said.
The province has sent police to the park to maintain security and encouraged the parties to meet and discuss a solution to the problem.