Vietnam’s PM proposes solutions to improve ACMECS cooperation
Updated : Monday, June 18, 2018 11:01 AM (GMT+0700)

PrimeMinister Nguyen Xuan Phuc suggested a number of measures to make ACMECScooperation more effective at the 8th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-MekongEconomic Cooperation Strategy Summit (ACMECS 8) that opened in Bangkok,Thailand on June 16.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the event - Source: VNA

He said it is necessary topush for coordination of stance between ACMECS members and developmentpartners, and build a common voice on issues needed to be addressed andcooperation priorities.

Greater attention should bepaid to the mobilisation of financial sources via initiatives like the ACMECSFund and ACMECS Infrastructure Fund and Trust, the Vietnamese PM noted.

He said ACMECS operationmechanism should be improved to be leaner and more effective, suggesting theorganization of ACMECS meetings in conjunction with events held by the ASEANand other Mekong cooperation mechanisms.   

The PM added that ACMECSneeds to contribute more directly to and become an integral part of the ASEANCommunity formation process through integrating the implementation of theACMECS Master Plan with that of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the MasterPlan on ASEAN Connectivity, and other ASEAN cooperation programmes.

The Vietnamese PM alsorecommended a number of specific contents for cooperation in transportconnectivity, trade-investment, agriculture, tourism, environmental protection,natural resources management, and human resources development

Besides PM Phuc, the ACMECS8 was attended by State and governments leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar andThailand. 

Themed “Towards anIntegrated and Connected ACMECS Community”, ACMECS 8 focused its discussions onmeasures to facilitate socio-economic development, improve competitiveness ofmember economies, and outlined orientations for cooperation for inclusive andsustainable development in the Mekong region. 

Leaders shared the view thatthe Mekong region boasts a wide market, capable human resources, and astrategic geo-economic location connecting Indian Ocean, the Pacific and Asianmarkets. 

However, regional countrieshave to face challenges from the slow recovery of the world economy, theemergence of populism, the return of protectionism, non-traditional securityissues such as environment degradation, climate change and natural disasters,requiring ACMECS to further improve the efficiency of its cooperation andenhance coordination between ACMECS and other region and sub-regionalmechanisms. 

Participants adopted theBangkok Declaration and the ACMECS Master Plan for the 2019-2023 period withthe goal of turning ACMECS into an economic hub with seamless connectivity andstrong integration, on the three main pillars of hard infrastructure and softinfrastructure connectivity and smart and sustainable development.

Accordingly, ACMECS willpromote seamless connectivity from multi-modal transports links (roads, rails,bridges, ports, air, inland waterway, and maritime connectivity) including butnot limited to infrastructures designed for sub-regional digital connectivityand energy infrastructure interconnection. Special emphasis will be on fillingall the missing links in the sub-region, and the auxiliary connection lineslinking industrial parks and seaports to main corridor routes; completing themissing railway links to enhance operations of sub-regional railway network,particularly the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) and Southern EconomicCorridor (SEC).

It will also harmonise andsimplify rules and regulations to facilitate the movement of people, free flow ofgoods, services, and investment while promoting financial literacy, capitalmarket cooperation as well as financial connectivity such as payment andsettlement, use of local currency, fintech and cooperation between banks andother financial service providers.

For smart and sustainabledevelopment, ACMECS will promote the development of human capital in strategicareas including entrepreneurship (MSMEs/Startups), agriculture, tourism,medical services and education. Environmental cooperation will continue to bepromoted, particularly in sustainable water resource management and in otherstrategic fields, including agriculture, industry, tourism, health, renewableenergy, climate change, disaster-risk management, and natural resourcesconservation.

The summit also discussedThailand’s initiative on establishing the ACMECS Fund and ACMECS InfrastructureFund and Trust as a financing mechanism for cooperation projects in the region.The funds are said to support the implementation of proritised projects in ACMECSmember countries.  

The summit highlighted therole of businesses in and outside of the region, with the ACMECS CEO Forum anda dialogue between ACMECS country leaders and CEOs of leading companies in theregion taking place for the first time. This showed that the private sector isset to be an important partner of the ACMECS in the future.

ACMECS leaders also welcomedVietnam’s hosting of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi on September 11– 13 this year. They said it would be an opportunity to highlight the Mekongregion as an ASEAN’s new dynamic economic engine and promote entrepreneurshipin ACMECS countries.

They agreed that Cambodiawill host the 9th ACMECS Summit in 2020.


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