Japanese firm seeks legal action amid fee dispute in Vietnam's industrial park

By An Long, Thanh Nien News

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Workers of Tango Candy Limited Company climb barriers erected by Tan Duc Industrial Park's developer to get to their factory. Photo: An Long Workers of Tango Candy Limited Company climb barriers erected by Tan Duc Industrial Park's developer to get to their factory. Photo: An Long

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A Japanese food producer said it will file a lawsuit seeking damages after having its entrance blocked and its water supply cut off by an industrial park in southern Vietnam where it is operating. 
The tensions inside Tan Duc Industrial Park in the Mekong Delta province of Long An have been running high since last week as the park's management and tenant companies, including Tango Candy Limited, cannot agree on an infrastructure fee. 
The Japanese firm has accused the manager, Tan Duc Investment Company, of illegally erecting barriers, dumping soil at the entrance to its factory, and cutting off the factory’s water supply since March 16.
Tango claimed that it lost around VND200 million (US$8,958) each day because of those acts. The company also had to buy water from outside and its workers had to climb over the barricades to enter the factory.
Meanwhile Tan Duc Company said it has filed a complaint against Tango Candy for failing to pay around VND360 million ($16,124) of infrastructure fees dated back to 2013 and an additional VND130 million ($5,822) of late payment interest. 
Tango Candy previously refused to pay the fee, saying it was unreasonably high. 
Amid the escalating tension, a Tan Duc representative told local media on Thursday that it had removed the barriers "while waiting for instructions from local authorities."
The two companies also met the same day to discuss a solution but no agreement on the fee was reached.
Tango Candy suggested that Tan Duc formally sign a contract and set the infrastructure fee at a more reasonable level of VND8,500 per square meter a year.
Nguyen Van Tieu, chief of Long An Economic Zone’s Management Board, told Thanh Nien that Tan Duc's acts could badly affect the province’s investment climate.
Tieu said the company had not signed any contract with companies operating inside the park regarding the infrastructure fee. 
“We are requesting local police to investigate the case,” he said.
Tan Duc Company has also asked other companies in the park to pay the fee, also threatening water and power cuts. 

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