BANGKOK, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Thailand is proposing a fund as a financing mechanism for cooperation projects under the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Saturday.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (R3), Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen (R2), Myanmar President U Win Myint (C), Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak (L3) and Liu Qiangdong (L2), founder and CEO of JD.com pose for a photo in Bangkok, Thailand, June 15, 2018. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday called on the private sector to contribute to the development of Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) countries so as to maintain their role as "core of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations)".
Prayut was speaking at the 8th ACMECS Summit here in Bangkok, which adopted the ACMECS Master Plan 2019-2023 and the Bangkok Declaration.
ACMECS countries include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.
The prime minister said Thailand will contribute an amount of money as seed money and invited the ACMECS members, potential development partners and international financial institutions to provide financial support for the ACMECS fund, which will be a main source of funding for joint development projects, to implement the ACMECS Master Plan, which is the first grand plan under ACMECS cooperation since its establishment in 2003.
The five-year scheme comprises 3 inspiring goals - "Seamless ACMECS," which focuses on filling in the missing infrastructures and transportation links, as well as the development of digital infrastructure and the interconnectivity of energy networks, and "Synchronized ACMECS Economies," which focuses on the harmonization of trade and investment rules and regulations as well as financial cooperation.
"Smart and Sustainable ACMECS," focuses on human resources development and application of modern technology as well as cooperation in strategic area and promotion of energy efficiency.
In the first phase, according to Prime Minister Prayut, the five ACMECS countries will focus solely on those urgently needed missing links along the East West Economic Corridor (EWEC) and Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) in the Mekong Subregion, including hardware, digital, and energy infrastructures, as well as harmonization of rules and customs regulations to facilitate trade and investments between ACMECS countries.
"Members countries will work together to find out the missing links shortly after the summit and detail on how to connect these transportation links," said the prime minister.
Nikorndej Balankura, deputy director-general of the Department of International Economic Affairs, told a press conference after the summit that the details of the fund and how much Thailand would contribute still needs further consideration.
According to the Bangkok Declaration, which affirms the five countries' commitment to implement the master plan, all ACMECS members "agree to task their senior financial officers to discuss the Terms of Reference (TOR) as well as the detailed operation of the ACMECS Fund in Thailand in 2018 and explore possible ways and means to establish this fund preferably by the next summit."
ACMECS serves as a mechanism to strengthen economic collaboration and narrow development gas in the subregion. The next summit would be held in Cambodia.