The AEM-METI Economic and Industrial Cooperation Committee’s West-East Corridor Development Working Group (AMEICC WEC-WG) convened its first meeting this year on October 4 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting revisited the Mekong Industrial Development Vision 2.0 and the ASEAN-Japan cooperation among many crucial areas aimed at advancing regional economic development and cooperation.
Senior officials from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Thailand National Economic Social Development Council (NESDC), the Mekong Coordination Units of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, trade and industry representatives from the five Mekong countries, and the AEM-METI Economic and Industrial Cooperation Committee (AMEICC) Secretariat graced the meeting.
Attendees discussed the progress of the Mekong Industrial Development Vision 2.0, a transformative framework for shaping related policies and a highly regarded mechanism under the strategic partnership between Japan and the Mekong countries. Notably, 2023 marks the 50th year of ASEAN-Japan cooperation, highlighting the continuing alliance between the two entities in fostering regional stability, economic growth, and sustainable development.
Japanese delegates introduced the direction for Mekong-Japan cooperation from 2024, emphasizing three main pillars: connectivity, digital transition, and SDGs + green initiatives, which are expected to shape the region's development trajectory.
At the meeting, Mekong Institute (MI), through Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Director of the Trade and Investment Facilitation Department, contributed its expertise and insights to advance regional cooperation and economic development. Mr. Dutta presented the results of a survey on the Mekong Regional Cooperation Frameworks, which looked into their strategies and responses to emerging regional and global issues. Findings from the survey are aimed at suggesting and informing projects under the ASEAN-Japan Economic Co-Creation Vision.
Based on the presentation of the study findings, the meeting explored two co-creation development project concepts such as (1) environmental, social, and governance (ESG) adoption within the Mekong's manufacturing sector and (2) human resource skill development in energy transition, particularly in the context of electric vehicle (EV) technologies. These concepts align with the commitment to sustainable and responsible business practices.
The outcomes of working group discussions hold significant potential for advancing regional economic integration, technological innovation, and environmental sustainability in the GMS and beyond.
 Japan and ASEAN will “realize a secure, prosperous and free economy and society through fair and mutually beneficial economic cocreation, based on the trust established over the past 50 years.”