Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sub-regional summits to enhance economic cooperation

Sub-regional summits to enhance economic cooperation
YANGON, Nov. 5 -- Myanmar Prime Minister General Thein Sein is due to leave Nay Pyi Taw later on Wednesday for Hanoi to attend two sub-regional summits hosted by Vietnam.

The two subregional summits are the 4th of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) and the 3rd of Ayeyawaddy-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) which also comprises the four countries plus Thailand.

Heads of governments of the CLMV and the ACMECS countries will seek better efficiency in implementing cooperation agreements reached at previous summits, according to the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry.

Hundreds of businessmen from the subregional countries and representatives from international organizations as well as investors from Japan, South Korea, the United States and the European Union are expected to join the event which will last until Friday.

The ACMECS summit is also expected to outline measures to facilitate trade, investment and tourism between the five member countries, while the CLMV is due to ratify a number of prioritized projects for future implementation.

As part of the ACMECS summit, a business forum and a dialogue between ACMECS leaders and businessmen will be attached which will outlines steps to boost the subregional economic cooperation, the Vietnamese sources said.

In November 2003, then four ACMECS countries -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand held their first summit in Myanmar's ancient city of Bagan, laying down ACMECS program which provides for cooperation in five main strategic areas of agriculture, industry, trade and investment, transport, tourism and human resources development.

Vietnam joined the ACMECS in 2004, bringing the number of the grouping to five.  In May 2007, ACMECS foreign ministers met in Myanmar's Mandalay, pledging to work for greater competitiveness, narrower economic disparity and promoting socio-economic development in the subregion.

Calling for realization of their 2003 Bagan Declaration efficiently and effectively, the foreign ministers also expressed their desire to strengthen the aims and objectives of the declaration and work for attaining prosperity in the subregion through enhanced solidarity, mutual respect, goods neighborliness and active cooperation among the member countries.

According to Myanmar sources, as part of the ACMECS, Thailand proposed three industrial zones to be set up on Myanmar's Myawaddyand Hpa-an in southeastern Kayin state and Mawlamyine in southern Mon state, and the three industrial zone projects, aimed at creating job opportunities in the region, are under deliberation.

The Myawaddy zone covers an area of 173 hectares, while the Mawlamyine zone 124 hectares and Pha-an zone 178 hectares.

The feasibility study on the establishment of the three industrial zones, jointly conducted by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand and the Myanmar Ministry of Industry-1, has reportedly been finalized and its finding has been presented to Myanmar.

Relating to CLMV which are the lesser-developed countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the four countries are seeking enhanced cooperation among them to develop air transport in the sub-region.

Under a multilateral agreement reached in Phnom Penh in April 2005, the CLMV countries have been seeking promotion of air travel and cargo as well as tourism services among the four.

CLMV senior aviation officials last met in Yangon in May 2007.

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