Thailand boosts infrastructure investment in Mekong region: PM

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BANGKOK, Oct 5 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Friday that Thailand is investing in mega-projects to develop infrastructure and improve water management to make itself ready to become a connecting nation and a hub of food distribution among countries in the Mekong subregion.

The Thai premier spoke at a keynote speech at the Thailand investment conference on  “Opportunities and Challenges of Thailand in the Evolution and Development of Greater Mekong Region”  in the Thai capital this morning.

Ms Yingluck said the GMS countries have continued their economic development over the past two decades. At their last meeting, held in Myanmar, the premier said member countries agreed to cooperate to strengthen regional economic growth in the next four years.

The GMS comprises Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China’s Yunnan province.

The Thai premier said the GMS is considered a crucial sub-region for ASEAN development and connectivity, especially as Myanmar is now open to the world community, so the GMS attracts more investors to the region.

The GMS countries agreed to boost their connections in transportation, trade and investment, paving the way for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, she said.

Thailand, as the centre of this region, Ms Yingluck said, has played an important role to link the transportation, and investment. It has invested US$90 billion in megaprojects in basic infrastructure, as well as short and long term water management projects to enable Thailand become the food distribution centre to other ASEAN countries.

Ms Yingluck said other transport projects being invested include high speed railways linking Thailand and Laos, Thailand and China, as well as an agreement with Myanmar to develop the Dawei deepwater seaport to boost investment between the two neighbouring countries.

Regarding the investment sector, Ms Yingluck said, Thailand’s  securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is ready to promote development of GMS capital markets to enhance mutual economic growth and increase the value of its capital investment.

She said the key for success is to jointly invest in basic infrastructure funding which will help reduce public debt and other obstacles.

Ms Yingluck expressed confidence that the GMS will have a strong and sustainable growth in future.