Mekong countries can be new driver for global growth: summit

By Ha Thu   April 1, 2018 | 05:00 pm GMT+7
Mekong countries can be new driver for global growth: summit
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the Mekong summit. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
For the region to thrive, we need to guarantee sustainability and harmony, said Vietnam's PM

International and local investors are the key to economic growth in Mekong countries, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit on Friday at the National Convention Center at Hanoi.

The GMS is a resourceful region which is helping Asia become the new driver for global economic growth in the 21st century, Phuc said.

However, amid global changes, GMS countries need new motivation to compete and develop. That motivation is to “develop our own internal force” and “effectively exploit the advances and breakthroughs of science and technology”, Phuc said.

Vietnam has achieved various economic and social success in the last year, which is the foundation for its government to improve the business environment, increase integration and invest in traffic infrastructure, he continued.

For the GMS to thrive, its countries need to guarantee sustainability and harmony, he said.

Speaking at the same event, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the GMS is standing at the door of opportunities, and that China's development will provide a boost for many countries, both regionally and globally.

Wang promised that China will never close its door to the world, and at the same time the country will strive to expand its finance market and improve intellectual property rights.

“When China opens its doors, we hope other countries will do the same,” said Wang, expressing his expectation of two-way movement. Unilateralism and protectionism are “against history and only result in bitter fruits,” he added.

The foreign minister also mentioned the benefits of its Belt Road Initiative for all GMS countries, a development strategy proposed by China to concentrate on connectivity and cooperation with the world in a China-centered trading network.

The private sector is becoming more important to economic growth, according to leaders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. However, challenges remain for the GMS such as not being able to take advantage of regional economic corridors, difficulties from high-level urbanization and pressure from cross-border trade, said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

GMS countries need to increase their integration and connections to tackle existing issues, said the Cambodian PM.

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