With the Synthesis and Evaluation Workshop, the two-year joint MI-Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) project on Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) was formally concluded.
The S&E workshop, attended by twenty-six mid-to-senior level officers from provincial chambers of commerce, SME associations and business associations in the EWEC countries, provided a chance for stakeholders to both evaluate the project and suggest new and emerging trade and investment opportunities in the region.
The final evaluation, presented by Ms. Pham Thi Que Anh (Alice Pham), Director, Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) Hanoi Resource Centre, Vietnam recommended the implementation of a larger and more comprehensive programme on private sector development to explore new approaches/measures to boost trade and investment activities.
A rapid capacity-building needs assessment performed during the workshop with the input of participants provided a number recommendations to improve future projects along EWEC. These recommendations included more specific business matching activities, an annual EWEC annual trade fair, the development of a sector-based EWEC database, structured learning visits (SLVs), advocacy and consultation services with central governments, more solid support for new business ventures, and increased market-specific research studies.
A plenary discussion to assess current and future the trade and investment opportunities along the extended EWEC was also held during the workshop. The contributors included, Mr. Tak Sriratanobhas, Vice President, Mitr Phol Corp. Ltd., Mr. Moe Myint Kyaw, Executive Member, Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Le Canh Duong, Vice Director, Danang Investment Promotion Center, Mr. Oudet Souvannavong, Secretary General, GMS Business Forum, Dr. Pawat Tangtrongjita, Managing Director and Consultant to ADBs Project and Mr. Fabian Suwanprateep, Project Manager, UNESCAP.
The workshop were attended by a number of esteemed guest speakers including Mr. Somsak Suwannasutcharit, Governor of Khon Kaen Province, Mr. Katsuya Nagafusa, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Thailand, and Mr. Phanpob Plangprayoon, Director, Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who emphasized the importance of EWEC as an emerging hub for business opportunities and shared their vision for its role as a tool of local economic development.