Boosting the development triangle

16:59 | 10/12/2012
Greater capital investments and international cooperation are being promoted for developing the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area in a bid to leverage the region’s socio-economic growth.

The message was delivered at the 8th Meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area (CLV DTA) hosted in Vietnam’s Central Highlands’ Kon Tum province last week.

The meeting was co-chaired by Bui Quang Vinh, Vietnam’s Minister of Planning and Investment, Chairman of the JCC for Vietnam; Cham Prasidh, Cambodia’s Senior Minister of Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce, Chairman of the JCC for Cambodia, and Somdy Douangdy, Laos’ Minister of Planning and Investment, Chairman of the JCC for Laos.

Speaking for the JCC, Vinh said: “We agree that it is of greater importance for us to strengthening the cooperation among CLV countries on security, foreign affairs, economics, culture, education and environment issues in order to enhance peace, security, stability and sustainable development in this sub-region.”

CLV DTA was established in 2004 on the basis of approval of three prime ministers, covering 13 provinces. These include Cambodia’s Ratanakiri, Stung Treng, Mondulkiri and Kratie,; Laos’ Attapu, Salavan, Xekong and Champasak, and Vietnam’s Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Daklak, Dak Nong and Binh Phuoc.

According to the JCC’s Economic Sub-Commitee figures reported at the meeting, in the past two years, the average GDP growth of the DTA reached 10 per cent per annum with four provinces of Cambodia achieving the average growth rate of 9 per cent, four provinces of Laos with 11.4 per cent growth and five provinces of Vietnam with 10 per cent growth.

The 2012 GDP per capita in the DTA stood at $980, about 77.5 per cent of the average rate of the three countries. Specifically, four provinces of Cambodia achieved GDP per capita of $670, 72 per cent of the national average, four provinces of Lao had GDP per capita of $902, 82 per cent of the national average and five provinces of Vietnam obtained GDP per capita of $1,050, 74.5 per cent of the national average.

In term of direct investment, according to the report, Vietnam currently has 25 direct investment projects capitalised at $1.4 billion in Cambodia’s DTA provinces, accounting for 22 per cent of the total projects and 61 per cent of the total investment capital that Vietnam has registered to invest in Cambodia. Fifty direct investment projects registered by Vietnamese investors in Laos’s DTA provinces are valued at $1.65 billion, making up for 22.9 per cent of the total projects and 47.5 per cent of Vietnam’s total registered investment capital in Laos. Most of Vietnam’s investment projects in Laos and Cambodia’s DTA provinces focus on plantation of rubber trees, the construction of hydropower plants and mining.

Meanwhile, Laos has five direct investment projects capitalised at $77.2 million and Cambodia with two direct investment projects with the combined investment capital of $18.2 million in Vietnam’s DTA provinces.

Vinh said the current socio-economic growth in the CLV DTA and investment results in this sub-region did not truly reflect the area’s potential, strength and traditional relationships of CLV.

This is largely due to the underdeveloped infrastructure system and shortages of investment incentives for the DTA provinces, he said.

Cham Prasidh, Cambodia’s Senior Minister of Commerce, said that amid the current global economic turbulence, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam had to cooperate in a much closer and more effective manner to achieve the set target such as annual GDP growth of 10.5-11 per cent by 2015 outlined in the Socio-economic Development Master Plan of CLV DTA.

“We [the JCC] agree with the importance of need to organisorganisinge the Development Partners Conference in in Vietnam in 2013 to mobilise financial support from international donors such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japan to boost the CLV DTA development,” Vinh said.

Japan is now the only international donor that in 2008 approved to provide a $20 million grant aid aiming to improve socio-economic development projects in the CLV triangle.

Somdy Douangdy, Laos’ Minister of Planning and Investment, said that besides international donors’ financial support, investments from the private sector via public-private partnership, build-operate-transfer and build-operate-own models should be also encouraged to develop infrastructure network in the CLV DTA.

Sitting at the Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia development triangle, Kon Tum has been responsibly joining the triangle’s commitments, as well as boosting bilateral cooperation, contributing to the triangle’s common prosperity.

To achieve sustainable and rapid development, we must make sturdy efforts and join hands to realise cooperative targets that have been reached at the Joint Coordination Committee Meeting.

Specific measures include the continued construction of the master plan of the Development Triangle. To this end, we must construct a development plan for the core region of the triangle covering three provinces Ratanakiri, Attapeu and Kon Tum.

Also we must devise special incentives for the triangle including investment policy, preferential tariffs and capital-mobilising mechanisms. This is to build a balanced regional economy with the development gap amongst the three countries’ economic regions to be bridged. Besides, we will also have to jointly mobilise capital from donors and build a frequent consultation and dialogue mechanism between the triangle with its partners.

Furthermore, we also need to figure out a roadmap on simplifying procedures for travellers, means of transports and goods at border-gates’ customs agencies, at which there must be a “one-stop” mechanism.

We must also attach special importance to developing the international Bo Y- Phu Cua and soon opening the Dak Coi border-gate based in between Kon Tum and Ratanakiri’s Kon Tui Nia area.

By Hoang Anh

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