The recent WEF-Mekong meeting in Hanoi was a useful reminder of the subregion’s significance, reports The Diplomat.
Political and businesses leaders converged in Hanoi late last month as Vietnam played host to the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Mekong Region. Held October 24-27 in Hanoi, the Forum aimed to enhance cooperation in the region, thereby attracting capital for infrastructure development and to enhance connectivity along the Mekong River.
Greater cooperation between countries in the Mekong region is in the works.
Laos and Vietnam announced plans to build a highway connecting their two capitals Vientiane and Hanoi. The highway will facilitate trade between the two countries, which are chiefly dependent on roads as the main mode of transportation.
Cambodia and Vietnam signed an agreement to lower trade tariffs. Thirty-nine Cambodian products will enjoy duty-free access into Vietnam’s markets, including 300,000 tons of rice and 3,000 tons of dried tobacco. In return, Cambodia will provide duty-free access to 29 as-yet-unknown Vietnamese products. In 2015, trade between Cambodia and Vietnam surpassed $3 billion, falling short of the targeted $5 billion.
With substantial natural resources and a population of 240 million, the Mekong region holds much potential. While these projects are a step in the right direction, it remains to be seen if the respective governments can implement these changes in time to ride the wave of development.
There were also implications for the wider ASEAN region …