Mekong Monitor: Thailand’s Amata Corporation to develop a smart city in Yangon, first in Myanmar
Photo credit: Myanmar Eleven
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Thailand’s Amata Corporation to develop a smart city in Yangon, first in Myanmar
(24 August 2019) Thailand’s largest industrial estate developer Amata Corporation will develop a smart city in Myanmar’s capital city Yangon soon, said Amata chairman Vikrom Kromadit. The chairman’s remarks were made during a signing ceremony on August 22, during which he and Yangon chief minister Phyo Min Thein inked a framework agreement to turn Yangon into the country’s first smart eco city. Vikrom also urged the Myanmar government to create a one-stop investment service centre to expedite the development of the 2,000-acre industrial estate, saying that the company hopes to begin construction immediately after the rainy season and all that they needed were the necessary government permits. The project will be a cooperation between Amata’s local subsidiary Yangon Amata Smart and Eco City (YASEC) and Myanmar’s Department of Urban and Housing Development (DUHD) who holds a 20% stake in the project.
Cambodia, Vietnam aim to surpass US$5 billion trade target by 2020
(23 August 2019) The 17th meeting of the Cambodia-Vietnam Joint Commission on economic, cultural and technological cooperation held in Phnom Penh on August 21-22 concluded with both sides agreeing to not only reach but surpass their target of US$5 billion in bilateral trade by 2020. According to a post-meeting statement, the parties also agreed to bolster cooperation in high-value industries such as those involving medicine, electric and electronic products, and automobiles. Furthermore, both sides agreed to continue bolstering investment and cooperation in the aviation industry, border agro-industry, as well as the tourism industry. The meeting was chaired by the Cambodian and Vietnamese foreign affairs ministers Prak Sokkhonn and Pham Binh Minh.
Laos to increase energy trade with Vietnam
(22 August 2019) Lao energy minister Khammany Inthirath asked Vietnamese trade minister Tran Tuan Anh to consider the possibility of procuring power from its thermal power projects in Khammuan province and wind power projects in Sekong province during bilateral meetings held in Vientiane recently. The Vietnamese minister responded by saying that Vietnam was indeed willing to consider increasing their electricity trade with Laos. Presently, Laos exports 320 MW of electricity to Vietnam, but expects exports to exceed 5,000 MW by 2030. The countries also signed major cooperation agreements to advance energy and mining projects, as well as electricity trading earlier this year.
Laos hopes to begin use of electric cars next year
(22 August 2019) Electricité du Laos (EDL) and the EV Lao Company will begin installing electric vehicle charging stations in Vientiane this year with plans to begin importing electric vehicles next year, according to local media. According to the EV Lao Company, the pilot project will be implemented with full government support as it is in line with the administration’s efforts to lower the use of fossil fuels. The two companies and the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines are currently testing the installation of charging stations as they hope to install 20 such stations in the capital city this year. Laos remains heavily dependent on imported fuel — the country imported almost US$2 billion worth of fuel in 2018, up from over US$1 billion worth of the same volume in 2016.
Laos’ current account deficit to widen to 12% in 2019: World Bank
(25 August 2019) Laos’ current account deficit is projected to expand to 12% in 2019 as imports continue to outpace exports, according to the World Bank’s latest Lao Economic Monitor. According to the report, the surge in imports was largely due to the imports of construction equipment, vehicles and machinery from China to support mega infrastructure projects such as the Laos-China railway. The Lao government expects imports to total US$5.77 billion and exports to total US$5.51 billion this year, leaving it with a trade deficit of US$259 million.
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.