WRITTEN BY MEKONG INSTITUTE'S TRADE AND INVESTMENT FACILITATION DEPARTMENT
“The Lancang-Mekong (LM) countries are among the fastest-growing economies in Asia. They have become a strategic economic power house, connecting to the ASEAN and the rest of Asia including the belt and road initiative. Among other initiatives, economic cooperation and integration strategies in the LM countries aim to promote special economic zones and regional economic corridors, which contribute to the competitiveness of the economies. Each special economic zone is unique due to location, nature of economic activity, enabling policy law, incentive and so on. Therefore, sharing of experiences in development of economic zones including investment strategies in their country and country-wise action plan implementation will bring in mutual benefits” said by Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of Mekong Institute at the commencement of the regional synthesis and evaluation (S&E) workshop on Investment Opportunities in Economic Zones in Lancang-Mekong Countries. The workshop was held on October 11 to 12, 2021 through online platform.
The S&E workshop aimed to share and discuss the results of the national workshops including relevant policy suggestions and outcomes of the action plan implementation on “Measures for Management and Promotion of Special Economic Zones”, which took place in August to December 2020 and National Workshops on “Investments Opportunities in Economic Zones in Lancang-Mekong Countries” conducted in September – October, 2021.
48 participants attended the S&E workshop. Beside COVID-19 control and recovery programs for businesses in the LM countries, workshops discussed that (i) over 7,000 participants attended the national workshops organization during September-October, 2021 in the LM countries; (ii) the knowledge and skills acquired during an e-training on “Measures for Management and Promotion of Special Economic Zones, held in August 10-21, 2020 was disseminated to over 70 stakeholders in Myanmar and Thailand; (iii) over 100 profiles of economics zones and business from Vietnam have been uploaded on an online information system on economic zones at www.lmezs.com; (iv) the investment environment reform in Cambodia e.g. reduction electricity cost and import & export fee, prepare online tax return system, to improve the competitiveness and diversify the economy after the onset of COVID-19 , (v) China’s technical applications to provide services to foreign investors included intellectual medical treatment, intellectual agriculture, model of new retail, new media, new industry dynamics and other new opportunities, and (vi) the priority potential sectors for investment in Lao PDR are agribusiness, education, HRD, health, tourism, manufacturing with high technology and electricity generation, (vii) with the approval of the central committee in Myanmar, over 7,000 enterprises operates in the Industrial Zones, and (viii) Thailand’s 13th national economic and social development plan 2023-2027 focuses on narrowing income disparity and reducing poverty through innovation, creating a knowledge-based economy and value-added development.
The S&E workshop is part of a multi-year project on “Joint Development of Cross-Border Economic Zones in Lancang-Mekong (LM) countries”, supported by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund and implemented by Mekong Institute in coordination with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), Royal Government of Thailand.