Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that the Thai government supports transportation infrastructure to create connectivity across ACMECS member countries, as well as a single production base in the ACMECS economy.
ACMECS, which stands for Ayeyawadi – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, is a political, economic, and cultural organization, comprising five countries, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Prime Minister General Prayut attended the 6th ACMECS Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on 22-23 June 2015.
On this occasion, he also delivered a statement at a meeting between ACMECS leaders and business sector representatives. In his statement, he said that the Thai government has improved rules and regulations to promote a more seamless connection within ACMECS member countries. For instance, it has expanded an agreement on border-crossing facilitation for Route R9 to cover Bangkok, Hanoi, Vientiane, Laem Chabang Port, and Vietnam’s Hai Phong Port.
The Prime Minister said that Thailand has relaxed its rules to allow individuals to take up to two million baht’s worth of money out of the Kingdom to another member state. It is also pushing for the development of the special economic zones (SEZ) being piloted in five provinces: Tak, Sa Kaeo, Trat, Mukdahan, and Songkhla. The purpose is to promote trade, investment, and prosperity in border areas of the member countries in order to boost ACMECS economic growth and benefit people of all member countries.
He proposed that that SEZ connectivity be promoted across ACMECS member countries, so that they could move forward together to achieve sustainability. In the Prime Minister’s view, the private sector would play a major role in investing in infrastructure and business development, as well as contributing to SEZ growth at all levels, from large-scale industry to medium-sized businesses and at the grass-roots level.
He said that both the public and private sectors could cooperate on determining target industries in each area to attract investment and establish industrial zones along the ACMECS borders, as well as in other potential areas along the East-West Economic Corridor, the North-South Economic Corridor, and the Southern Economic Corridor. He cited the Dawei Special Economic Zone as one of the region’s strategic projects that can promote economic expansion and connectivity across ACMECS countries and the region, as the ASEAN Community will be in place this year.
The Prime Minister urged ACMECS member countries to push for the development of a "Tourism Corridor.” The route, linking Bagan with Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Siem Reap, Da Nang, and Hue, should be promoted, as it combines major tourist destinations that are the pride of ACMECS.