Regional countries discuss digital technology

Thursday, Aug 16, 2018 12:22

CLMTV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Việt Nam) Forum 2018 is organised by the Thai Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with many partner organisations with the theme of “CLMTV Taking-Off Through Technology”, kicking off in Bangkok on August 16. -- VNS Photo Linh Anh

By Linh Anh

BANGKOK — The growth of digital technology for inclusive and sustainable economic development is a top priority for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Việt Nam and Thailand (CLMVT).

The statement was made in a joint declaration on technology co-operation during the CLMVT Forum 2018, organised by the Thai Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with partner organisations with the theme “CLMVT Taking-Off Through Technology” that kicked off in Bangkok today.

The two-day forum aims to strengthen economic ties in the CLMVT region and promote regional cooperation amidst challenges in the context of current global trade, with an emphasis on the use of technology for economic development.

The forum has attracted about 1,000 participants from the public, private and academic sectors along with members of the media.

During his opening remarks, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that the CLMVT Forum provided a unique opportunity for leading business people, senior policy makers and academics, and the younger generation of entrepreneurs to come together and exchange views on the sustainability of future cooperation.

“With shared historical, geographical, and cultural ties, the CLMVT region has great potential to develop into a thriving global hub for commerce, industry and tourism. An outstanding feature of the CLMVT region is our resilience as a preferred destination for international trade and investment,” he said.

“As the region is emerging with greater creative talent and entrepreneurial ingenuity, there is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of this trend by highlighting the importance of technology and innovation towards the momentum of this regional growth,” the Prime Minister said.

This will require fine-tuning our cooperation in digital technology, transport infrastructure connectivity, environmental sustainability, and human resource development, all of which would be substantial to the discussions within the 2018 CLMVT Forum, he said.

Representatives of Vietnamese delegation attend the CLMVT Forum 2018.
Representatives of the Vietnamese delegation attend the CLMVT Forum 2018

Thai Minister of Commerce Sontirat Sontijirawong said the forum created opportunities for public and private sectors from all CLMVT countries to develop a shared narrative to enhance collaboration and improve the state of economic development in the region amid rapidly evolving disruptive technology.

“It is the only international forum that connects prominent public figures, distinguished business leaders, visionary young entrepreneurs, and renowned academics from the CLMVT region and beyond to discuss the most pressing issues facing the region today,” Sontijirawong said.

This year, the forum focuses on four important topics that could shape the future development of the CLMVT region – digital trade ecosystem, digital platforms and e-commerce, SMEs and startups, and creative economy.

Addressing the forum, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bùi Thế Duy said Digital transformation does not mean buying software and hardware but is about how to change the business model and adapt to technological transformation.

“Việt Nam is emerging as a country with great potential to develop digital economy, as it has more than 58 million internet users out of its 90 million people and more than 125 million mobile subscribers,” Duy said.

Digitalisation is present in almost all fields in Việt Nam, replacing traditional business models, from business registration and electronic invoicing, to online retail, property and banking, he said.

“However, the country is also facing a number of challenges. For example, 86 per cent of workers in the textile and garment industry in Việt Nam would face the risk of losing jobs in the context of growing automation.”

The appearance of robots would replace people in production lines, Duy said.

Houmphanh Intharath, Lao Vice Minister of Science and Technology said the spillover effects of digital technology and e-commerce are growing rapidly in Southeast Asia., stressing the need to prepare consistent, clear, and transparent policies and laws to better support businesses in the adaptation with the changes that technology brings about.

CLMVT should regularly exchange experiences on technological innovations, support businesses in connecting, learning and exchange experiences in the field of digital technology to achieve prosperous and sustainable economic development, he said.

U Tha Oo, Myanmar’s Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, said the reform of Myanmar’s economy towards digital economy is being paid much attention by the government. The creative industry can leverage digital technologies to enhance its already important role as a vital growth engine of the CLMVT region.

The first day of the forum is themed “Technology to Change Trade and Investment”, comprising parallel discussions, ministerial conversations and leading business people exchanging views and extending networks.

The second day, themed “Technology to Change Life and Yound Generation”, emphasises the promotion of an inclusive economy by enhancing the capacity to ultilise technologies among SMEs and startups, and by applying digital technologies to support a creative economy.

The CLMVT Forum 2018 also features more than 40 exhibition booths from domestic and international organisations.

With a combine population of 240 million and GDP growth as high as 6.2 per cent in 2017 (compared to the global average of 3.6 per cent), the CLMVT region has attracted worldwide entrepreneurs to invest in manufacturing and expand their markets, resulting in unceasing economic expansion. — VNS

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