Mekong Monitor: Thailand, Cambodia hope to renew talks on developing disputed gas field
Photo credit: Bangkok Post
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Thailand, Cambodia hope to renew talks on developing disputed gas field
(6 September 2019) Thailand and Cambodia are considering reviving talks on the development of a gas field which both countries lay claim to in the Gulf of Thailand, said Thai energy minister Sontirat Sontijirawong following a meeting with his Cambodian counterpart on the sidelines of the 37th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) in Bangkok. According to Sontirat, both sides agreed that talks should resume “as quickly as possible” to ensure that the area can be “developed for mutual interests” since both countries are in need of more power sources as domestic demand increases.
Thailand’s FPT mulls extending oil pipeline into Myanmar
(9 September 2019) Thailand’s Fuel Pipeline Transportation (FPT), a subsidiary of SET-listed Bangkok Aviation Fuel Services, announced this week that it is studying the feasibility of extending an existing pipeline from Thailand’s Tak province to Myanmar’s Mawlamyine district as it sees great potential in Myanmar’s burgeoning automobile market. According to the company, such an extension is crucial in ensuring that they remain competitive as demand for oil in neighbouring countries rise. Furthermore, FPT hopes to expand its oil pipelines to China through Laos as soon as regulations permit.
Traders call for more trade in maize with Thailand as previous deal expires
(9 September 2019) Myanmar’s agreement with Thailand for maize exports — which was signed in 2018 after China started imposing greater import restrictions on Myanmar — came to an end in August, said a senior Myanmar commerce official. According to him, Myanmar was only able to export “several truckloads” of maize to Thailand in early September. As such, the country’s border trade associations have been calling for more exports in general agricultural products to Thailand. At the Myawaddy border, Thai exports to Myanmar reached US$648 million, while Myanmar’s exports to Thailand totalled only US$181 million during the previous fiscal year.
CLMV economic ministers vow to carry out action plans
(6 September 2019) Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos’ economic ministers as well as Cambodia’s commerce secretary reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to the implementation of the CLMV Action Plan 2019-2020 during the recent 11th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) Economic Ministers’ meeting held in Bangkok on September 5, especially via greater connectivity through transport infrastructure, trade, and logistics, as well as investment and tourism promotion. The group also agreed to carry out the additional regional commitments stipulated in the action plan regarding the support of micro, small and medium enterprises, and the updating of the framework for CLMV development.
South Korea vows to support Laos’ economic growth and encourage investments
(5 September 2019) South Korean President Moon Jae-in concluded his six-day tour to three Mekong countries with a visit to Laos, following earlier visits to Thailand and Myanmar. During his visit, Moon noted Laos’ “solid infrastructure” and pledged to support the development of Laos’ road, railway and port systems. Additionally, South Korea will also provide incentives to encourage companies to invest in Laos, particularly in the areas of hydropower, renewable energy, smart cities, digital infrastructure and water resource development. Laos-South Korea trade reached US$114 million in 2018.
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.