October 11, 2011

CLMV countries seek to narrow regional development gap


PHNOM PENH -- Economists and experts from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) met here on Monday to discuss the CLMV countries' issues and prospects in the post-ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

Speaking at the opening of the seminar, Prince Norodom Sirivudh, privy counselor to Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and also founder and chairman of Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP), said the CLMV countries have been seeing relatively high growth over the past years and expect to continue their high economic performance in the coming years, however, their starting point is very low compared with other countries in the region.

"The development gap remains a stumbling block of our regional economic integration," he said, "It is, therefore, necessary for more developed countries in the region especially the dialogue partners of ASEAN like Japan, China and South Korea to assist CLMV in narrowing the development gap in the region."

He said that CLMV needed support in both hard and soft infrastructure construction and technical cooperation and capacity building projects.

"We need to build a strong pool of human resources and strengthen our public and private institutions in order to work hand in hand towards regionally inclusive growth," he said, "To achieve effective and fair development, we need to address good governance first. Corruption remains the cancer of our development. We need serious and sincere reform or even operation in this respect."

The prince said CLMV is located in a very strategic and economic position in the region as they link with both India and China, the economic giants in the region.

Meanwhile, Pen Sorasak, secretary of state at Cambodia's Ministry of Commerce, said that for the CLMV countries, the development of agriculture and small and medium enterprises is the top priority for sustainable development.

The seminar was co-organized by Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and CICP with the cooperation of Cambodia's Ministry of Commerce.

In the seminar, there were also presentations given by the economists of Asian Development Bank and Bangkok Research Center on the issues of trade facilitation, investment and service cooperation among ASEAN countries towards the establishment of the ASEAN economic community by 2015.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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