Photo credit: Bangkok Post
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Vietnam and Cambodia agree to eliminate tariffs, enhance rice trade
(15 February 2019) A meeting between Cambodian commerce minister Pan Sorasak and Vietnamese industry and trade ministry representative Do Quoc Hung on February 13 resulted in agreements between the two countries to drop tariffs on a range of goods. Under the agreement, Vietnam will impose no tariffs on 32 Cambodian products, while Cambodia will do the same for 26 Vietnamese products. Further, Vietnam will increase its import quota for Cambodian rice and tobacco leaves to 300,000 tonnes and 3,000 tonnes respectively. The elevated import quotas will be enforced in 2019 and 2020. Bilateral trade between both countries reached US$3.8 billion in 2017
Myanmar-Vietnam trade reached almost US$200 million in 1Q FY2018-19
(16 February 2019) Trade between Myanmar and Vietnam reached US$196 million in the first quarter (October to December) of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce. Of the sum, Myanmar’s exports to Vietnam amounted to US$48.5 million while its imports from the same were valued at US$147.7 million. Myanmar’s key exports to Vietnam are mineral, agricultural, forest and marine products. Its key imports from Vietnam are automobile spare parts, computer parts, construction materials, steel, plastics, pharmaceuticals and chemical products. Meanwhile, the Myanmar Investment Commission recorded an inflow of US$10.48 million worth of foreign investment during the same period.
Vietnam and Laos step up energy development cooperation
(18 February 2019) Vietnam and Laos will ink agreements for the development of several major hydropower, renewable energy and mining projects soon, said the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung at a reception for Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath in Hanoi on February 18. Furthermore, Deputy Prime Minister Dung also suggested that the countries collaborate on developing a mechanism to monitor the construction of irrigation and hydropower projects near the border to prevent environmental damage. Both sides reiterated their commitment in advancing their cooperation, especially in the energy and mining sectors.
Thailand hopes to get Lao hydropower generator running ahead of schedule to curb power tariffs
(20 February 2019) Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) plans to get the Xayaburi hydroelectric power project in Laos operating ahead of schedule in order to maintain Thailand’s power tariff and avoid an increase in electricity prices. The Xayaburi hydropower project — Southeast Asia’s largest hydropower plant — was initially scheduled to launch on October 1. However, sources say that the project developer had already began the project’s test phase last year, and they have also allocated additional funds in order to complete development before October. Once completed, the project will comprise seven turbines which will generate power for the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and one turbine that will distribute power for domestic use in Laos.
Vietnamese steel exports subject to Thailand’s final anti-dumping review
(18 February 2019) The Thailand Department of Foreign Trade’s investigation on anti-dumping duties imposed on steel products from countries such as Vietnam is in the final stages, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Remedies Authorities. As such, the Vietnamese authority has instructed local steel exporters to provide their full cooperation during the final investigation and to raise any objections they may have through said authority. The review, which began in September 2012, covers steel imports from Vietnam, Taiwan and China.
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.