The Government of Thailand will chair the 11th Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-11) on 28 October 2020 with the theme “Boosting Competitiveness, Connectivity, and Community in the GMS Economic Corridors through Focused and Integrated Spatial Development.” The meeting, to be held via web-based conferencing, will emphasize initiatives and interventions aimed at accelerating the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) economic corridors.
This year’s ECF continues the tradition of getting together to discuss programs, experiences, and knowledge for the continuous improvement of an integrated, prosperous, sustainable, and equitable subregion. The GMS subregion’s economic corridors emphasize an enhanced spatial approach and the development of an integrated network of economic corridors. It is promoted through three core principles to guide economic corridor development: environmental sustainability and resilience, internal and external integration, and inclusivity.
The upcoming meeting will include the sessions below.
- Present the draft new GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030.
- Outline the findings of the Study on Section-Specific Planning for the GMS North-South Economic Corridor in Myanmar and the People’s Republic of China.
- Showcase Thailand’s experience in developing the Eastern Economic Corridor.
- Discuss possible ways the GMS Program can contribute to accelerating the implementation of the existing free trade agreements in the subregion.
- Present new initiatives on labor mobility and safe migration.
- Present updates on implementation progress of Early Harvest implementation under the Cross Border Trade Agreement.
GMS Senior officials, representatives of development partner organizations, private sector, and ADB officials will be invited to participate in this meeting.
The 11th Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-11) was held on 28 October 2020 with the theme “Boosting Competitiveness, Connectivity, and Community in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Corridors through Focused and Integrated Spatial Development.” Mr. Wanchat Suwannakitti, Senior Advisor to Policy and Plan Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council of the Government of Thailand, chaired the meeting. Mr. Ramesh Subramaniam, Director General, Southeast Asia Department at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), co-chaired this virtual event.
This virtual forum was convened to share and jointly review key findings of initiatives implemented by GMS member countries and the GMS Secretariat. It aims to accelerate the more integrated, prosperous, and inclusive development of GMS economic corridors. The meeting preceded the 24th GMS Ministerial Meeting held on 4 November 2020.
About 200 participants consisting of Senior Officials of the six GMS countries—Cambodia, the PRC, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, development partner organizations, private sector representatives, and ADB officials joined the forum.
Key outcomes of the meeting include:
- Discussion of the draft new GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030), highlighting strategic thrusts and principles that support the development of the GMS economic corridors. The presentation stressed that a spatial approach involves linking industrial hubs, border/rural areas and nodes, major cities and urban centers, major trade routes and maritime gateways. Additionally, it underscored the importance of ensuring health interventions and safe migration along the economic corridors.
- Presentation of the findings of the Study on Section-Specific Planning for the GMS North–South Economic Corridor in Myanmar and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (NSEC-5 Study). The Study aims to identify measures and cooperation to transform the NSEC-5 into a full-fledged economic corridor that generates increased investment, employment, and incomes along and around the sub corridor in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
- Showcasing Thailand’s experience in developing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The EEC is an example of an individual country corridor that is linked to the regional economic corridors. It integrates infrastructure, technology and innovation, tourism, education and human resources development, digital infrastructure, environmental awareness, and smart cities development. The presentation underscored that, despite the huge disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic corridor development must continue to promote connectivity within the subregion and beyond.
- Discussions on possible ways the GMS Program can contribute to accelerating the implementation of the existing free trade agreements (FTAs) in the subregion in which the six GMS countries already participate, such as the ASEAN-PRC Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, and future FTAs in which the GMS countries may participate, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
- Update on the progress and way forward of the GMS Cross Border E-Commerce Cooperation Platform. Strategic directions for the way forward include (i) further developing the GMS cross-border e-commerce industry, (ii) expand innovation of cooperation mechanisms for GMS cross-border e-commerce, and (iii) promote facilitation of GMS cross-border e-commerce.
- Discussion of the progress of the Early Harvest implementation under the GMS Cross Border Trade Agreement (CBTA). The GMS CBTA facilitates unimpeded travel for agreed goods, passengers, and vehicles. The presentation stressed the economic case of the CBTA; the need to keep trade, investment and tourism open to revitalize economies, ensure health and well-being of people, strengthen regional coordination to respond to COVID-19, and achieve common standards in border crossings.
- Briefing on planned initiatives and recommendations to promote labor mobility and ensure safe cross-border migration along the GMS economic corridors.
The forum issued a news release at the conclusion of the meeting.