Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand to Synergise At the Region’s First “CLMVT Forum 2016”
Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha this morning (Thursday, June 16, 2016) presided over the opening ceremony of the “CLMVT Forum 2016”, a regional platform for discussion towards a shared prosperity, and delivered a keynote address on “CLMVT: Prosper Together”. He called on the delegates’ attention to accentuate the region’s potential, opportunities, and expansion of intra-regional business network, towards the development and advancement of trade, investment, and tourism of the five CLMVT countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand.
In his address over the 1,000-strong audience at Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok, Gen Prayut emphasized the strong ties among the five countries and praised the initiatives of the Ministry of Commerce in mobilizing cooperation of 11 alliance agencies from both government and private sectors, to organize this historic event.
“The CLMVT Forum brings together leading business people from the CLMVT region to exchange ideas and build networks with other prominent figures from the public, private, and academic sectors, on the vast opportunities for shared growth and common prosperity of this region.”
The Thai Premier added: “The CLMVT region is set to play a unique role as a vital destination for international investment, tourism, and industry. With a strong background in cultural, economic integration and connectivity that will engender a sustainable and shared prosperity in the region that leaves no one behind. This will involve a genuine commitment to working together to develop tangible solutions to common problems, based on our shared values of mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual benefit. All of these components will reinforce the collective strength and trust among the CLMVT countries, not to mention our standing as active and responsible members of the international community.”
On the organising side, Mrs Apiradi Tantraporn, Minister of Commerce, revealed that the forum, organized for the first time in history, has brought together 15 CLMVT ministers responsible for economy, trade, industry, investment, and tourism. Participants are prominent high-ranking government officials, businesspeople, and policy-makers in trade, investment, and tourism, top executives from both government and private sectors, young entrepreneurs, and professional academics from the five countries, including top executive, to name a few, from Nissan Motor Asia-Pacific, Huawei Technologies, DHL, Accor Group, Booking.com, plus top and rising-star SME entrepreneurs.
The main objectives of this forum, the Commerce Minister said, were to bring about the region’s common goal of shared prosperity, accentuate potentials, correct weaknesses, unlock the barriers of obstacles, create a borderless economic community, business environment and good living, and squeeze out the best of the digital age, so that the CLMVT would become Asia’s New Growth Engine.
The CLMV countries, comprising Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, are trade partners so significant to Thailand. In 2015, exports of Thai products and services accounted to 10.4% and investment proportion of 10% of the country’s total direct investment. Tourists from CLMV countries also accounted to 10% of the total number of visiting foreign tourists in Thailand. Amidst the worldwide economic slowdown, the CLMVT – CLMV plus Thailand – still appreciates the enviable 5.8% of GDP growth from 2011-2014, with per capita income of 2,927 US dollars.
And thanks to its total population of 235 million with more than half in the workforce, the CLMVT region is truly the home of immense purchasing power and consumption rate. All these have made it a significantly interesting Single Destination for trade, investment, and tourism, among the people from all corners of the globe.
Policy-makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics and young leaders from the five nations were now engaged in talks and roundtable discussions in the 2-day forum, with focus on the following pressing issues:
- Unleashing CLMVT: Global Perspective on CLMVT Potentials – prominent leaders from non-CLMVT countries have shared their views on CLMVT’s future development, the potentials and shortcomings that need to be addressed in order to attain the goal of being the “New Asian Growth Engine”, with emphases on regional connectivity, global value chain, and inclusive tourism. One of the prominent speakers was Mr Yutaka Sanada, Head of Operations Committee for Asia & Oceania and President of Nissan Motor Asia Pacific Co., Ltd., who shared his ideas on creating a Single Production Base in CLMVT.
- Unlocking CLMVT: Creating a Single, Seamless Region – touches key issues that might hinder the region’s determination to become ‘Single, Seamless Region’. The participants have addressed barriers in trade, investment, and tourism, and sought solutions for a better integration of the CLMVT. The ministers of commerce, industry, tourism, and culture from the five nations have gathered to seek solutions for the future of trade, investment, and borderless tourism in this region.
- Quality CLMVT: Creating a Vibrant Business Environment and Good Living – ensures that the region’s most valuable assets, which are their people and the quality of their lives, are well taken care of. The participants have focused on how to assist new start-ups while enhancing people’s health together with the fastest-growing sector-tourism. Here, Mr Yod Chinsupakul, President and Founder of Wongnai.com spoke about his experience on building the community of start-ups.
- Digital CLMVT: Supporting Digital Infrastructure in CLMVT – touches the issues on how to make the digital age most advantageous for the future development of the region. The discussion joined by CLMVT tech and communication companies covered e-tourism, e-transaction, and e-commerce. Sharing thoughts on the pressing matters were Mr Rami Sharaf, Senior Vice President of Royal Group of Companies from Cambodia, and Dr Arak Sutivong, Executive Director of Shwe Than Lwin (Sky Net) Co., Ltd., and Founder of LocalAlike.com from Myanmar.
In addition, the forum also included several more keynote addresses. H.E. Mr Shiro Sadoshima, Japanese Ambassador to Thailand spoke about “Japan’s Comprehensive Industrial Development Support: Preparing for CLMVT’s Link in Global Value Chain”. Dr Veerathai Santipraphob, Governor of the Bank of Thailand, about “Financial Connectivity in CLMVT”. Mr Chartsiri Sophonpanich, President and Director of Bangkok Bank PCL, about “Enabling Trade and Investment in CLMVT: Roles of Banking and Finance in Regional Development”; Mrs Kesara Manchusree, President of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, about “Thriving CLMVT Economic Growht: The Role of Capital Market and SET’; Mr Patai Padungtin, Former President of Thailand Tech Startup Association, about “Mentoring Start-ups in CLMVT”.
The CLMVT Forum 2016, taking place from June 16-18, 2016, is organized by the Ministry of commerce, in collaboration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Industry, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Tourism Authority of Thailand, The Board of Investment, Mekong Institute, Board of Trade of Thailand. Federation of Thai Industries, and The Thai Bankers Association.