Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, May I express my sincere gratitude to the Royal Thai Government for the warm hospitality extended to me and to the delegation of the Royal Government of Cambodia. I also congratulate the Royal Thai Government for the excellent arrangements for the ACMECS Summit.
The Summit is of great significance to our respective countries as well as the entire region, as it represents an opportunity for us all to review the progress of implementing our shared Economic Cooperation Strategy (ECS). We will take further steps to expand opportunities to implement our shared vision on socio-economic development both at national as well at regional levels for the benefits of our people.
In implementing our shared vision, we have adopted the approach of «five nations, one economy» shaped by our commonalities and long-term common interests of our nations, as well as sustained, complementary efforts to strengthen the linkages among our respective Governments, entrepreneurs, and peoples. This cooperation will create economies of scales, which enable the private sector to invest in our five countries. In this context, we have prepared programs, investment projects and cooperation agreements. To ensure successful implementation of these initiatives and projects, we have given priorities to the mobilization of financial resources. We have invited a number of Development Partners to joint us in the implementation of the development projects. At the same time, we created tremendous opportunities for the participation of the private sector in our cooperation initiatives.
Since the first inaugural Summit in Bagan, we have made tremendous progress in institutionalizing our ACMECS cooperation and taken concrete steps to implement projects that are of vital significance to the socio-economic development of our countries.
While our five nations – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – are at varying stages of economic development, we share many common aspirations and approaches in promoting mutually beneficial, sustainable development. Indeed, our cooperation is based on universal values and consistent with the principles of international law, the aspirations of the ASEAN and the shared dreams of our nations of enduring peace and stability, good neighborliness, mutually beneficial development, prosperity, welfare and harmony.
Better linkages among the five ACMECS countries would strengthen the regional economy by focusing on joint economic activities based on comparative advantage, including market expansion for agricultural products, raw materials, supplies for manufacturing and encouraging investment, thereby promoting sustainable economic development over the long run.
The main objectives of ACMECS cooperation are to increase competitiveness and generate greater economic growth along the borders, facilitate trade, create jobs and reduce income disparities in the region, and share prosperity for all in a sustainable manner.
To this end, we should redouble our efforts to remove barriers to trade and investments by establishing a one stop service, strengthening customs cooperation at border checkpoints and improving our trade system to respond to international best practices.
To attract more tourists, Cambodia and Thailand are prepared to introduce the ACMECS Single Visa by adopting the ACMECS minus X formula. We will set up an IT system to facilitate this visa scheme.
We have agreed to develop and implement a comprehensive energy plan to promote energy security in our ACMECS region by focusing on the development of hydro power and bio fuels.
Moreover, we have agreed to incorporate cooperation in public health as another priority for ACMECS cooperation with the view to providing an efficient response to the challenges and threats to public health in the region. This includes the establishment of a network of public health agents to share information, provide emergency warning and promote cooperation in capacity building.
May I conclude by emphasizing my conviction that our successful implementation of the Economic Cooperation Strategy among our nations – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – will greatly contribute to the transformation, in the first half of the 21st century, our shared areas into zones of sustained economic growth, progress, prosperity and harmony for all our peoples.