Mekong Monitor: Laos, Cambodia agree to halt development in unsettled border area
Photo credit: Bangkok Post
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Laos, Cambodia agree to halt development in unsettled border area
(13 September 2019) Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith’s recent official visit to Cambodia resulted in the inking of six cooperation agreements between the parties, including power purchasing agreement, a revised agreement on bilateral energy cooperation, and a memorandum of understanding on labour cooperation. Furthermore, both sides agreed to ensure peace at their shared border by putting a halt to any development around these areas until clearer lines are drawn to demarcate their lands. The two sides also agreed to remove the military presence in the unsettled area and agreed on joint-border land, water and air patrols which can be carried out by drones.
Sihanoukville airport to expand passenger capacity to 10 million
(16 September 2019) The Cambodian State Secretariat of Civil Aviation announced recently they have approved the master plan for the construction of a new terminal at Sihanoukville airport in preparation for its hosting of the ASEAN Summit in 2022, as well as the rise in tourists and investors visiting the province. The new terminal will expand the airport’s capacity to 10 million, with the first phase of construction slated to start in 2020. According to Cambodia Airports, Sihanoukville airport saw a 210% rise in arrivals in 1H2019 totalling 755,000 people.
Koh Kong province’s first coal-fired plant seeking new buyers for electricity
(16 September 2019) Cambodian Koh Kong province’s coal-fired power plant — a project backed by Thailand’s state-owned electricity company, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, — is still seeking buyers for the power that the facility generates, said Cambodian energy director-general Victor Jona. According to him, the initial plan was to produce 3,600 MW of electricity for Thai consumption, and a further 200 to 300 MW for the local market. However, negotiations fell through with the Thai buyers.
US$81.6 billion in capital invested into Myanmar in the last 30 financial years
(15 September 2019) Myanmar’s investment authority recently approved eight local and foreign investment projects which are expected to create 3,159 jobs, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). The investments were in livestock and fisheries, manufacturing, real estate, and oil and gas. With this, DICA says that a total of 1,806 foreign companies have been given permits to invest in the country, bringing in US$81.6 billion in capital in the last 30 financial years. Singapore, China and Thailand were Myanmar’s top investors during the period, with the country’s oil and gas, power and manufacturing sectors attracting the most investment.
CLMVT countries must upgrade to become new global value chain
(14 September 2019) Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam should upgrade and become a new global value chain within the world economy, said Thai commerce minister Jurin Laksanawisit during a recent CLMVT business forum. He noted the four countries hold rich agricultural raw materials for Thailand and developed countries that provide them with Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits, making them perfect production bases for the region. However, Jurin also urged the CLMVT countries to work together and enhance their consumer safety standards, quality checks, environmental protections and technological capabilities in order to play a larger role in the global supply chain network. The combined trade value within the CLMVT in the first seven months of 2019 showed a 1.7% year-on-year increase to US$28.1 billion.
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.