PM Yingluck urges GMS members to expand economic cooperation

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NAYPYIDAW, Dec 20 — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra proposed that the Mekong Subregion countries expand their economic cooperation as economic development could contribute to motivate worldwide economic growth.

Ms Yingluck, attending the 4th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit 2011 in the Myanmar capital, Naypyidaw, told the meeting that Thailand urges the GMS member countries — China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – to jointly develop new economic areas such as the Kanchanaburi-Dawei and Mae Sot-Myawaddy on the Thai-Myanmar border and Nakhon Phanom-Khammouan.

Economic development of the GMS could contribute to the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community in 2015, she said, adding that implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) could help increase the regional demand and could be a major factor to spur world economic growth.

The Thai premier said Thailand has given full support to the new 2012-2022 GMS Strategy Framework.

She added that Thailand has also given priority on the safety and security of people in the Subregion as there are threats from natural disasters such as floods, drought, tsunamis and earthquakes that resulted from climate change and other factors.

Thailand has proposed regional cooperation to improve water management in the region and to organise a water summit in the Asia-Pacific region next year.

Established in 1992, with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the GMS draws together China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, all countries sharing the Mekong River. It is designed to enhance their economic relations.

The GMS summit is held every three years. Cambodia hosted the first in 2002, China chaired it in 2005, and Lao held the summit in 2008.

At the opening ceremony of the 4th GMS Summit, a video presentation will be shown on the successful cooperation of the GMS countries in tourism, agriculture and environmental conservation. Afterward the leaders would discuss on the 2012-2022 GMS Strategy Framework, and the report of the GMS Business and Investment Conference.

The leaders will then sign the Joint Declaration of the 4th GMS Summit.

They will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on joint cooperation to further accelerate construction of an information superhighway and its GMS applications, and another on establishing a GMS Freight Transporters Association (FRETA).

An MoU on joint action to reduce HIV risks related to population movement is also on the agenda.