Mekong nations’ new agreement paves way for accelerated economic development

Manila, Philippines, Sep. 18 – Ministers from the six nations sharing the Mekong River have agreed to expedite the development of three priority economic corridors in the region: the East-West, North-South and Southern economic corridors.

At the 2nd Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Corridors Forum in Phnom Penh, ministers from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam noted that the corridors are poised to help propel the economic development of the entire sub-region.

“With good roads and other physical infrastructure largely in place, today’s commitment bodes well for the region’s continued economic development,” said Asian Development Bank Vice-President Lawrence Greenwood. “Now Mekong nations need to double their efforts to streamline cross-border transactions and transportation costs, to ensure trade between Mekong nations can flourish."

Mr. Greenwood also noted that today’s initiatives will help improve the business environment in the region, boosting investments in the process.

An enabling policy and regulatory framework will provide new opportunities for the private sector and deepen businesses’ involvement in the economic corridors’ growth.

“As countries move forward in developing the economic corridors, they must be mindful of the social and other risks of development. It is essential that the corridors improve the standard of living of all families living along them, and do so without undue environmental costs,” said Mr. Greenwood.

The Economic Corridors Forum has laid the groundwork for improved coordination and collaboration between the public and private sectors, between central and local government officials, and among government agencies needed to fast-track the transformation of transport corridors into full-fledged economic zones.

On the sidelines of today’s Forum, Cambodia and Thailand signed an agreement that will accelerate the exchange of traffic rights between the two countries, and address the current problem of transshipment, which is causing delays in cross-border trade and tourism between the two countries.

Source: Asian Development Bank

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