SMEs along the Southern Economic Corridor

Enhancing Competitiveness of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises along the Southern Economic Corridor

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

Project Goal

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.


Project Objective

To enhance competitiveness of SME to conduct cross border trade and investment and integrate into cross-border industrial clusters, regional and global value chain.


PROJECT steering committee (PSC)

  • Mekong Institute (MI);
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB);
  • Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO);
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA);
  • Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training of Cambodia;
  • Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia;
  • Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts of Cambodia;
  • Ministry of Industry of Myanmar;
  • Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar;
  • Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI);
  • Ministry of Industry of Thailand;
  • Board of Trade Thailand;
  • Federation of Thai Industries (FTI);
  • Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam (MoIT);
  • Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) 


PRODUCT CLUSTERS in 19 SEC Provinces Identified for the Project



Proposed Product Chains


Banteay Meanchey

Silk Production


Fresh Water Fish Sauce


Pursat Orange

Kampong Chhnang

Pottery & Ceramics

Svay Rieng

“Smach” Rice Production

Koh Kong

Sea Water Fish Sauce


Natural Salt Flower Production

Preah Sihanouk

Dry Shrimp


Tanintharyi (Dawei)

Mackerel (Pla Tuu)



Durian Processing


Banana Processing


Organic Rice


Aromatic Coconut Production & Processing

Sa – Kaeo

Aromatic Herb


Community Based Tourism


Ca Mau

Dried Snakeskin gourami (Pectoralis)

Can Tho


Kien Giang

White (Leg) Shrimp

Tay Ninh

Custard Apple