MI continued to promote special economic zones (SEZs) as it completed the Synthesis and Evaluation E-Workshop on the “Enhancement of Business Connections and Information-Sharing Among Special Economic Zones in Lancang-Mekong Countries” last July 14 to 17, 2020 from the MI Headquarters.
“This is part of MI’s continuing work to boost trade and investment within and outside the Lancang-Mekong region,” Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, MI’s Director of Trade and Investment Facilitation said in his opening remarks. He explained that participants’ inputs of best practices, lessons learned, and country-specific recommendations in strengthening SEZs will contribute to the competitive economic growth of Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“Ultimately, these efforts of sharing SEZ information, company profiles, regulations, and products will help widen Lancang-Mekong countries’ networks with international investors. These will lead to the improvement of value chain linkages and modernization of production bases, thereby creating better livelihood for people,” Mr. Dutta added.
Scheduled as a three-hour online workshop per country, government and private sector representatives from Myanmar, P.R. China, and Thailand submitted their experiences in the implementation of their action plans.
Chinese participants highlighted 15 SEZs in Yunnan Province, opening potentials for investments between P.R. China and other Lancang-Mekong countries in equipment manufacturing, agricultural food processing, bio medicine, food and beverage, coal, tourism, among others. They also recommended ways forward in optimizing and transforming SEZs through competitive employment schemes and conducive economic incentives and policies.
On the other hand, representatives from Thailand forwarded 758 company profiles which were recorded into the MI-designed Lancang-Mekong Economic Zone web portal for immediate access of governments, investors, export traders, other business stakeholders across the region.
Dr. Shwe Hein, Secretary of the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee in Myanmar, commended MI’s online activity as having provided sufficient time for group exchanges and presentations. Moreover, Dr. Hein credited MI for deepening his coordination with other Lancang-Mekong SEZ experts.
Currently, Dr. Hein and his team are collecting data to establish a regional and national directory of Myanmar’s company profiles, SEZ regulations, trading policies, and business services.
The online workshops were part of the “Joint Development of Cross-Border Special Economic Zones” project. Implemented by MI and in collaboration with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, the three-year project was designed to enhance regional coordination in the management and promotion of special economic zones across Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PPR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The project is supported by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund.