Mekong Monitor: CLMV ministers endorse action plan on economic cooperation for 2020/2021

Photo Credit: VNA





CLMV ministers endorse action plan on economic cooperation for 2020/2021
(25 August 2020) The economic ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam endorsed an action plan on economic cooperation for 2020/2021 at the 12th Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) Economic Ministers’ Meeting held via videoconferencing on 24 August. The meeting was part of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting. The action plan on economic co-operation for 2020/2021 will focus on five key areas: trade and investment cooperation, implementation of regional commitments, post-pandemic recovery plan, CLMV development framework, and human resources development. At the meeting, CLMV ministers also reviewed and assessed the implementation of the CLMV Action Plan on Economic Cooperation during the 2019/2020 period.
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Vietnam and Cambodia to develop border trade infrastructure
(24 August 2020) Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a plan to implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development and connection of border trade infrastructure with Cambodia according to a local media report dated 21 August. The implementation started on 19 August and is expected to last until October 2022. Between 2021 and 2022, surveys will be conducted for the construction of at least a border market, related trade and investment promotion events will be carried out, and support will be provided to firms introducing and distributing goods at border markets, trade centres and trade fairs.
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Tourist arrivals and spending decline around 70% in the first seven months of 2020
(25 August 2020) Thailand’s tourist arrivals and spending declined around 70% year-on-year in the first seven months of 2020, according to data released on 24 August, as a fourth month of border closures aimed at keeping out COVID-19 continued to affect its struggling economy. In the January-July period, foreign tourist numbers totalled 6.69 million, down 71% year-on-year, while spending fell 70.4% from a year earlier to US$10.6 billion (332 billion baht). From October 2020 onwards, Thailand will allow foreign tourists to visit the resort island of Phuket for long stays that must include a quarantine period, which replaces plans for “travel bubbles” between certain countries amid a resurgence of the virus in parts of Asia.
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Laos and Japan agree to relax COVID-19 travel restrictions
(23 August 2020) Laos and Japan agreed on 23 August to allow expatriates to resume travelling as early as September 2020, provided they stay home for 14 days after entering their respective countries as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to the Japanese government, the plan was agreed by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Laotian counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith during talks in Vientiane. In addition to the reopening of borders for long-term residents, they agreed to speed up coordination through diplomatic channels toward resuming business trips.
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AGD Bank to provide foreign funds to local farmers in rural areas
(23 August 2020) One of Myanmar’s largest banks, Asia Green Development Bank (AGD Bank) has signed a US$25 million (35 billion kyat) financing agreement with Pact Global Microfinance Fund to provide funding to farmers and agricultural businesses in Myanmar. Through the agreement, the two parties will channel the equivalent of US-denominated funds from foreign investors in local currency to 68,000 households in Myanmar via microfinancing. According to AGD Bank, the hybrid loan signed between both parties is the first of its kind in the country.
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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.

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