Mekong states discuss narrowing gaps, sustainable development

08:37 | 15/07/2018 Cooperation

(VEN) - Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc concluded his trip to Thailand to attend the eighth Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy Summit (ACMECS 8) and the ninth Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Summit (CLMV 9). At the two summits, the leaders affirmed their determination to strengthen cooperation in order to promote the economic potential of member countries, contribute to the development of the ASEAN Community, and ensure sustainable and inclusive development in the Mekong region.

mekong states discuss narrowing gaps sustainable development
ACMECS leaders pose for a photo at the opening ceremony of the summit

Towards an integrated and connected ACMECS community

At the ACMECS 8, the leaders focused their discussions on measures to promote socioeconomic development and improve competitiveness of member economies, outlining orientations for cooperation on inclusive and sustainable development in the Mekong region. They also discussed the establishment of the ACMECS Fund and ACMECS Infrastructure Fund and Trust as a financing mechanism for cooperation projects in the region.

The leaders adopted the Bangkok Declaration and the ACMECS Master Plan for the 2019-2023 period with the goal of turning ACMECS into an economic hub with seamless connectivity and strong integration. They also agreed that Cambodia would host the ACMECS 9 in 2020.

PM Phuc pledged that Vietnam will support Laos and Cambodia in boosting their human resources capacity to narrow their development gap with other ASEAN member states.

PM Phuc suggested a number of solutions to enhance the effectiveness of ACMECS cooperation. He urged ACMECS to contribute more directly to and become an integral part of the ASEAN Community by implementing the ACMECS Master Plan with that of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, and other ASEAN cooperation programs. He also proposed a number of specific ideas for cooperation in trade and investment, agriculture, tourism, environmental protection, natural resources management, and human resource development.

CLMV 9 for greater economic integration and connectivity At the CLMV 9, the leaders reviewed their cooperation since the CLMV 8 in Hanoi in October 2016, and discussed measures to strengthen collaboration. They also agreed on the need to narrow the development gap within ASEAN and to build a dynamic and prosperous CLMV region with sustainable development. The leaders of the Mekong’s five downstream countries - Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos - called for more active participation of business in the implementation of CLMV cooperation projects, and welcomed Vietnam’s hosting of the 27th World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN in Hanoi on September 11-13. PM Phuc stressed that narrowing the development gap within the ASEAN is urgent for socioeconomic development of each member country, as well as for stability and prosperity of ASEAN as a whole.

PM Phuc pointed out three major points that CLMV should focus on to achieve the best outcomes in cooperation.

First, cooperation should focus on sectors in which each country is strongest, especially given limited resources.

Second, CLMV should be creative in mobilizing resources and building joint projects.

Third, the four nations should build medium- and long-term cooperation strategies to serve as a foundation for their joint activities.

He also made concrete proposals, showing Vietnam’s active contribution in CLMV cooperation, such as helping the countries attend big trade fairs in Vietnam, build e-government, and improve digital capacity and skills, and providing CLMV scholarships for Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar students.

At the end of the summit, the leaders adopted a joint statement of the CLMV 9 and agreed that Laos would host the CLMV 10 in 2020.

During the ACMECS 8 and CLMV 9, PM Phuc held bilateral meetings with his Thai, Lao and Cambodian counterparts

and the president of Myanmar, and met executives of some major Thai corporations. PM Phuc and his Thai

counterpart witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the Enterprises

Development Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment and Thai bank Kasikorn, and a

deal on developing the Dau Tieng 1 and 2 solar power plants in Vietnam’s Tay Ninh Province with total investment

capital of about US$400 million.

Nguyen Huong