Mekong Institute (MI), an intergovernmental organization in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), is firming up its commitment to the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation initiative with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on April 18, 2018 at the Ministry of Commerce, Bangkok, Thailand. The MoU makes MI the lead implementing agency of four major projects geared to advance trade and economic growth of the Lancang-Mekong region. The projects are generously supported by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, who also serves as active actor in the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Framework.
The MoU between MI and the MOC firms up the two agencies’ commitment to advance the capacities of public and private sectors in the GMS and strengthen regional economic integration and cooperation through collaborative activities including the four projects under the Special Fund.
The projects are multi-year initiatives conceived to push forward development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the promotion of e-commerce and business networking, and cross-border trade with the development of special economic zones. The projects will be carried out using a blend of capacity development activities including modular trainings, action research, business forums and business matching, policy consultations and online business platform development, among others.
Overview of the projects:
· The project on Joint Development of Cross-border Special Economic Zones (SEZ) aims to promote the development of SEZs in the Lancang-Mekong countries as a mechanism to boost trade and investment, improve supply chain and upgrade production bases.
· The project on Upgrading Border Facilitation for Trade and Development seeks to support policy and structural reforms by enabling improvements in infrastructure such as joint one-stop service centers and integrated quarantine service centers.
· The project on Lancang-Mekong Business Forums will promote stronger linkages of SMEs for their better integration in regional and global value chains through the conduct of business forums and networking activities.
· The project on Action Research on Rural E-commerce Development in Greater Mekong Sub-region will build capacities of business organizations and institutions for the promotion of rural e-commerce development in the GMS countries.
A MoU will also be signed on the same day between the MOC and the Government of China through the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Thailand as partners in the joint supervision of the projects in the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Special Fund.