With the formation of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Dawei Development Project, the volume of trade and investment along the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) is expected to increase. The SEC has potentials for further economic development with enhanced trade and investment as one of the most important corridors in the Greater Mekong Sub-regional (GMS). However, a recent rapid assessment on SMEs clusters conducted by Mekong Institute (MI) reveals that the agencies and stakeholders involved in promoting SMEs and cross-border trade in this economic corridor still have limited capacities. The biggest challenge facing the SMEs in the SEC is how to access and create effective linkages with regional and global markets. Most of the SMEs are domestic market-oriented and have been facing critical constraints caused by lack of (i) capacities and competiveness at the international level, (ii) effective advocacy, and (iii) skills of trade negotiation, while a regional approach for SME development along SEC to access regional and global value chain has not been made.
To address the issues, MI formulated the project on “Enhancing Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) of ASEAN Mekong Subregion (AMS)” (Project) with an aim to enhance capacities of the agencies involved in trade and investment activities to facilitate cross border trade and support SMEs through range of capacity building programs. The Government of Japan through the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) Component of Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) has collaborated and entrusted MI to implement the Project for a two-year period 2016 – 2018.
The Project covers 19 provinces along the Central Sub-Corridor (8 provinces) and the Coastal Sub-Corridor (11 provinces) of SEC in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam:
- Myanmar: Tanintharyi region / Dawei;
- Thailand: (i) Prachinburi; (ii) Sa-Kaeo; (iii) Kanchanaburi; (iv) Ratchaburi; (v) Chantaburi; and (vi) Trat;
- Cambodia (i) Banteay Meancheay; (ii) Battambang; (iii) Pursat; (iv) Kampong Chhnang; (v) Svay Rieng; (vi) Koh Kong; (vii)Kampot; and (viii)Sihanoukville; and
- Vietnam (i) Tay Ninh; (ii) Kien Giang; (iii) Ca Mau; and (iv) Can Tho
To contribute to the rapid economic development and inclusive growth in targeted border provinces on the SEC through the promotion of trade and investment along SEC with specific focus to enhance competitiveness of SMEs.
To enhance competitiveness of SME to conduct cross border trade and investment and integrate into cross-border industrial clusters, regional and global value chain.