Executives call for use of local currencies at borders
Business leaders from the lower Mekong River are calling for their governments to use local currencies for border region trade to facilitate transactions and reduce exchange costs.
The lower Mekong River includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT). The local currency plan will be proposed at the upcoming Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit on June 15 and 16. Thailand is hosting the summit in Bangkok.
Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the ACMECS business council, said business leaders from each country believe that using local currencies will ease the trade process and reduce currency fluctuation.
"We expect that the Thai government will agree with our currency plan," Mr Sanan said.
At the upcoming summit, business leaders will propose that their governments provide multiple-entry visas to facilitate overseas tourists that come to Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Only Thailand and Cambodia have multiple-entry visas.
"The countries are the rising stars of the tourism sector in Southeast Asia, but Thailand has been the tourism destination," Mr Sanan said. "Thailand needs to help other neighbouring countries raise their tourist numbers."
Mr Sanan said the leaders are also calling for their governments to set up single-stop investigating centres at checkpoints in border areas, expecting to facilitate trucks to transport goods across Southeast Asia.
Many trucks have to wait for long periods for staff to conduct border checks, meaning fresh products spoil before reaching their destination.
Thailand has advocated for closing the development gap between member countries.
The summit from the government's side will discuss a five-year master plan for 2019-23, proposed by Thailand. The plan will be endorsed by other business leaders and consist of three pillars: seamless connectivity, synchronised ACMECS economies and smart sustainability.
Mr Sanan said the plan focuses on connectivity along the East-West Economic Corridor and the Southern Economic Corridor.
The master plan will be set as a roadmap for cooperation among all members in many fields such as system and rules connectivity and sustainable and innovative development in the subregions.
Last year, the CLMVT grouping had total GDP of US$760.3 billion (24.4 trillion baht), with Thailand contributing $438 billion, Vietnam $216 billion, Myanmar $66.8 billion, Cambodia $22.3 billion and Laos $17.2 billion.