S Korea-Mekong links grow

Friday, May 30, 2014 08:38

"Insufficient infrastructure in each country is an important bottleneck to connect Mekong sub-region,".— Photo baodanang

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Viet Nam has been actively co-operating with countries in Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) to develop East-West Economic Corridor, Southern Economic Corridor and others.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, Bui Thanh Son made the statement at the second Mekong-South Korea Business Forum held in Ha Noi yesterday.

Son hailed the participation of South Korean businesses in promoting Mekong-South Korea economic cooperation and narrowing the development gap in ASEAN.

He stated that the organisation of the forum has not only been an evidence for Vietnamese government's commitments in Mekong-South Korea co-operation but also will create favourable conditions for the effective growth of businesses.

He affirmed that Viet Nam has highly valued the co-operation of the region in its development and international integration strategy and completing 14 bilateral Free Trade Agreements in the period 2015-20.

Speaking at the forum, Cho Tae-yong, vice foreign minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, announced that GMS has played an important role in South-ASEAN co-operation.

He said that South Korea has been impressed with Viet Nam's GDP growth rate and the unlimited potential of Viet Nam's high crude oil reserve.

He said that the South Korean government expected to strengthen co-operation with GSM countries and support the region in narrowing development gap with other countries in ASEAN.

He added that South Korea had implemented Mekong-South Korea Co-operation Fund last year with the aim of establishing a supporting mechanism for GSM in building transport network and resources.

South Korea has planned to increase the fund and its effectiveness.

Assessing on investment and business environment for enhanced connectivity of value-supply chain in the Mekong Region, Bun-Soon Park, visiting professor at College of Economics, Hongkik University in South Korea, saidd that ASEAN including Viet Nam, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia has been an important partner for Korea's investment.

He noted that in comparison with China, where investment was concentrating heavily on manufacturing, investment to ASEAN was more diversified.

"In the Mekong sub-region, the largest recipient country is Viet Nam, where manufacturing is the major industry," he noted, adding that investments to Cambodia and Myanmar have recently increased but the average size per projects in terms of amount was still small.

He pointed out that the investment cooperation between South Korea and most of Mekong sub-region countries was in the early stage.

He noted that the greatest advantage in the region was the abundant and cheap labours. Recently, Thailand, Viet Nam and Cambodia raised the minimum wage very rapidly.

However, he said there was a shortage of skilled workers in all countries in the region.

"Insufficient infrastructure in each country is an important bottleneck to connect Mekong sub-region," he pointed out, urging a better and increasing co-operation for infrastructure connectivity in the regional countries.

In addition, a stable wage increase and encouragement of new business establishment for supporting industry development will also contribute to enhance connectivity of value-supply chain in the sub-region.

Oudet Souvannavong, secretary general GMS-BF, vice president Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated that the countries in the region should make the GMS economic corridors the easiest place to do business to accelerate association and integration as well as connection in the region.

"Local government and operators should not look at freight, cargo, shipping and other related services as an opportunity to charge for everything," he noted.

He recommended that government officials especially customs officers should facilitate trade and not police it. Road check points should also be removed or should not be strictly monitored because they were adding up costs and reducing the time of commodity transport. Serious effort has to be made on corruption. — VNS

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