Remarks by Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh at closing ceremony of WEF-Mekong
22:44 | 25/10/2016
VGP - Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh on Tuesday delivered his remarks at the closing ceremony of the World Economic Forum (WEF-Mekong) in which he stressed that regional economic connectivity is crucial to the realization of a prosperous Mekong region.

This is the first time the WEF hosts a conference on the Mekong region, which clearly shows the strong interest and support of the Forum and international business community given to the Mekong countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The World Economic Forum on the Mekong region has come to a successful conclusion. The Forum is honoured with the attendance of Heads of States and Governments of Mekong countries. This is the first time the WEF hosted a conference on the Mekong region. That clearly shows the strong interest and support of the Forum and international business community given to the Mekong countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Under the theme of “Making the Mekong Mighty: Driving Investment into Fixed Capital, Human Capital and Network Capital”, the Forum on the Mekong region has discussed various important issues to the Mekong countries such as infrastructure, trade and investment, industrialization and inclusive growth in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.

At this closing session, allow me share some thoughts on the most prominent issues.

First, on the development vision for the Mekong region, the ASEAN Community coming into being at the end of 2015 and increasing economic linkages at both regional and global levels are opening up a vast development space for the Mekong region. Yet, at the same time, the development gap is widened, the advantage of low-cost labour is diminishing, climate change and environmental deterioration have become more grave.

Against such backdrop, a Mekong region that is politically stable, economically dynamic and connected, environmentally sustainable and socially harmonious is in the common interest of Mekong countries and businesses within and without the region. This will also make important contributions to the fulfillment of the ASEAN Community's objectives and to peace, stability and development in the region.

Second, sustainable and inclusive growth is our primary goal. Climate change, over-exploitation of natural resources, and unequal distribution of benefit from economic growth are creating major challenges to the development of the Mekong region. We believe it is essential for us to work more closely for narrowing the development gap and promoting sustainable development, especially the management and use of the Mekong water resources.

Viet Nam wishes to promote cooperation with other countries and partners in this area on the basis of harmonizing interests and sharing responsibilities of each and every country in the Mekong.

Third, regional economic connectivity is crucial to the realization of a prosperous Mekong region. To this end, infrastructure connectivity, economic integration and trade, investment and tourism facilitation are very important.

- Infrastructure connectivity in the transportation sector should be prioritized to promote the development of trade, investment and tourism within the region. We welcome various ideas discussed at the Forum on financing for transportation connectivity in the Mekong region, especially private financing through public-private partnership.

On its part, Viet Nam will create favorable conditions for development partners and businesses to increase investment in infrastructure, especially in sub-regional economic corridors, in order to promote regional economic connectivity.

- Economic integration will enable the Mekong countries to better tap their potentials and advantages, and therefore participate more effectively in global and regional value chains. To this end, Mekong countries should take full advantage of global and regional economic arrangements in order to promote connectivity of their economies with the rest of the world.

- Trade, investment and tourism facilitation is also very important area. The removal of trade barriers in accordance with relevant bilateral and multilateral agreements is necessary to promote trade, investment and tourism exchange within Mekong countries and between them and other countries.  Mekong countries need to strengthen cooperation to streamline and harmonize cross-border procedures. A good practice that has been implemented is the introduction of “single-stop” at border checkpoints.

Fourth, the fourth industrial revolution with the proliferation of accessible technology means the democratization of doing business. The playing field is even more level. It means small and micro enteprises from less developed countries, like those from the Mekong region, can have a chance to compete with major corperations.

To seize these opportunities, government and business community in the Mekong region should focus on building an enabling environment with legal framework and financing sources for businesses, especially for start-ups and small and micro enterprises.

Furthermore, I think in order to ride the wind of this revolution, Mekong countries have no other choice but to increase investment in human resources and encourage innovation and creativity. We can no longer rely solely on natural resources and low-cost labour. I believe that we all reached agreement on this issue.

Last but not least, the WEF Meeting on the Mekong region, the first one though, has proved that this is an important forum to promote the partnership between Mekong countries and WEF as well as international businesses.

Through this forum, Viet Nam wishes to work closely with WEF to create an opportunity for promoting open public-private dialogue and partnership to turn the Mekong region into a truly dynamic, enabling and competitive region that enjoys connectivity and sustainable development. Viet Nam is committed to working together with the Mekong countries to follow up on this Forum.

Tomorrow, the 7th ACMECS and 8th CLMV Summits will take place. Leaders of the Mekong countries will consider your fresh ideas and recommendations at this Forum in order to put forward strategies and concrete action plans to promote cooperation and sustainable development in the Mekong region.

On behalf of the Vietnamese government, may I extend my sincere gratitude to the WEF leaders and colleagues for your precious support for and effective assistance to make the Meeting possible. I thank you all, ladies and gentlemen, for your active participation to ensure the success of this Meeting.

Thank you very much.

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