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Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

GREATER MEKONG SUB-REGION COUNTRIES DETERMINED TO SEEK GREATER REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY

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HANOI, Leaders of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries, agreed to take concrete actions, to achieve deeper economic integration, greater regional connectivity, closer trade links and financial cooperation, consolidated people-to-people bonds, and closer links with the rest of the world.

At the 6th GMS Summit, which concluded in Vietnam’s capital on Saturday, with the release of a joint summit declaration, the leaders adopted and gave full support to the Hanoi Action Plan (HAP) 2018-2022, and the Regional Investment Framework (RIF) 2022. The HAP is to provide necessary adjustment and sharpen the focus, to ensure maximum effectiveness of the GMS Economic Cooperation Programme.

To support the HAP, the RIF 2022 was formulated, identifying a pipeline of 227 projects, with an indicative cost of 66 billion U.S. dollars. The RIF is a “living pipeline” of projects that will be reviewed and updated regularly, to adapt to changing conditions and priorities.

The leaders pledged support for the full realisation of the GMS 3 Cs (Connectivity, Competitiveness and Community), the core building blocks of the GMS Economic Cooperation Programme.

Regarding innovation, new technologies and digital transformation, as critical new sources of growth, the leaders wanted to boost the GMS Cross-border e-Commerce Cooperation Platform, which facilitates growth of e-commerce for higher efficiency, better connectivity and transformation of micro-, small- and medium- enterprises.

The leaders noted recently completed strategies for tourism, safe and environmentally-friendly agrobased value chains, environment and transport. They were committed to further fostering cooperation in health, urban development, hardware and software connectivity and economic corridors.

The leaders encouraged greater cooperation among member countries in undertaking trade promotion activities, accelerating the development of economic corridors and cross-border trade infrastructure, and improving trade management capacity. They encouraged implementation of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

At the summit, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, pointed out four necessary actions GMS countries should take, to break new ground in the development and cooperation in the sub-region. According to him, the countries need to “foster stronger growth,” “support openness in our practical cooperation,” “improve our network of connectivity,” and “deepen our partnership.”

“The GMS, once an important area along the ancient Maritime Silk Road, is now where the Silk Road Economic Belt connects with the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. This puts the GMS countries in a solid and unique position in the Belt and Road cooperation,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of the Asian Development Bank, Takehiko Nakao said, “Today, GMS countries are among the fastest growing economies in Asia and the world. They recognise the benefits of being regionally integrated and globally connected. ADB will continue to facilitate the GMS Programme, which has been built on mutual trust and the 3 Cs’ of connectivity, competitiveness and community.”

The GMS Programme has supported projects worth 21 billion U.S. dollars since its establishment in 1992, in sectors such as transport, tourism, health, urban development, environment, human resources development, agriculture and energy.

The 7th GMS Summit will be held in Cambodia, in 2021.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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