Acmecs leaders adopt 5-year plan

Acmecs leaders adopt 5-year plan

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to reporters following the Acmecs Strategy Summit in Bangkok on Saturday. (EPA-EFE Photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to reporters following the Acmecs Strategy Summit in Bangkok on Saturday. (EPA-EFE Photo)

The leaders of five Mekong River basin countries on Saturday adopted a five-year master plan focused on improving transport infrastructure, harmonising trade and investment rules, and human resources development.

The 2019-23 master plan, the first of its kind, was endorsed by the leaders of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam at the eighth Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy summit in Bangkok.

In his opening speech, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called on the members to work toward sub-regional connectivity, saying it would be the key to achieving economic integration and sustainable development.

"It (connectivity) will help promote free movement of goods services, investment and people, as well as integrate our economy into the global value and supply chains," he said.

Gen Prayut also invited the Acmecs partners and international financial institutions to provide financial support to the projects and the establishment of the Acmecs Fund, which will be the main source of funding for future projects.

Analysts have suggested that the fund could also help countries in the region reduce their dependence on China for financing and development of major projects.

The master plan emphasises the importance of promoting the smooth flow of goods and people through the East-West Economic Corridor and Southern Economic Corridor of the Greater Mekong sub-region.

The Acmecs leaders also pledged to work on the establishment of a financial mechanism to support those goals.

Besides the master plan, the summit also endorsed a "Bangkok Declaration" which underlines the commitment of member countries to achieve sustainable cooperation that will achieve tangible outcomes.

Established in November 2003, Acmecs aims to strengthen bilateral economic collaboration, tap comparative advantages of member regions and countries, and narrow development gaps.

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