Mekong Monitor


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Photo credit: Reuters

 

TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT

 

CAMBODIA, THAILAND

First nine months of Cambodia-Thailand trade in 2018 surpassed that of the entire 2017
(4 December 2018) Trade between Cambodia and Thailand in the first nine months of 2018 amounted to US$7 billion, exceeding the trade volume between the two countries for the whole of 2017. Speaking at a meeting to celebrate Thailand’s National Day, Cambodian commerce minister Pan Sorasak said that the figure reflects the bilateral trade commitment to reach US$15 billion by 2020. In connection with this, the Thai ambassador in Phnom Penh expressed that Thailand will continue to improve procedures at the Thai-Cambodian border to facilitate cross-border trade. A new working group has been recently established to bring together officials from both countries every three months to address and monitor trade issues.
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VIETNAM

Investment capital for Mekong Delta province increases
(3 December 2018) The Mekong Delta province of An Giang has attracted 78 projects in the first 10 months of 2018, with a total registered capital of US$1.06 billion. According to the province’s Department of Planning and Investment, this figure represents a year-on-year increase of 6.85% in number of projects and 2.97% increase in registered capital. Since the start of 2016, the province has attracted 211 projects with a total registered capital of US$1.9 billion. Projects are mainly in the agriculture, urban infrastructure, trade services, education, health, culture, sports and tourism sectors. Part of the Mekong Delta rice basket, An Giang is located west of the Mekong Delta and shares a 100km border with Cambodia in the northwest.
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MYANMAR, THAILAND

Construction of India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway in progress
(29 November 2018) The 1,360 kilometres long trilateral highway connecting northeast India to Thailand via Myanmar is expected to be completed in a few years. According to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the highway can only be meaningfully utilized upon the finalization of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement which facilitates seamless movement of passenger, personal and cargo vehicles along roads linking the three countries. Further, the government is exploring the possibility of extending the highway to other countries to boost trade in the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area.
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MEKONG

Germany, EU roll out funding to boost lower Mekong projects
(30 November 2018) Germany and the EU have approved new grants worth US$10.15 million for the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to facilitate cross-water cooperation between Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The first grant provided by Germany covers a three-year period starting in 2019, with much of the funding going to two Cambodia-Laos and Cambodia-Thailand transboundary projects to study methods to better utilize Mekong basin resources and address flood and drought issues. Part of the funds will also be used to implement overall activities under the MRC’s 2016-2020 strategic plan. The second grant from the EU will fund the implementation of the strategic plan for a two-year period with a focus on promoting and coordinating sustainable development and management of the Mekong river water and related resources in the four lower Mekong countries.
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MYANMAR, THAILAND

Thai loan provided to develop Mekong corridor towns
(30 November 2018) Thailand’s Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) will provide Myanmar with a US$24.3 million loan for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) East-West Economic Corridor towns development project. The loan, sought by the Myanmar Ministry of Construction and Kayin state government, will be used for capacity building purposes in Myawaddy in Kayin state, as well as for upgrading its water distribution and waste disposal systems. According to the Myanmar planning and finance minister U Maung Maung Win, the Myawaddy township is a crucial border area for trade between Myanmar and Thailand.
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About Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Programme was launched by the Asian Development Bank in 1992 connecting five developing ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. The region has some of the most robust economies sharing the Mekong River Basin thanks to its reform and liberalisation. The subregion is growing at a faster pace than the whole of East Asia and the Asia Pacific as the GDP growth rate for 2017 was at 6.4 percent, according to the World Bank. The population at the subregion as of 2016 is at 340 million while the GDP at PPP is at US$3.1 trillion in 2016. In 2015, trading within the region was at US$444 billion.