Monday, March 31, 2008

The Potentials of Greater Mekong in Asia

Leaders from six Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) member countries will gather at the third GMS Summit, which will take place in Laos' capital city of Vientiane from March 30-31.

At the event, called "Enhancing Competitiveness through Greater Connectivity," the leaders will focus on boosting transport connectivity and cooperation between state-owned and private sectors to develop trade and investment in the region.

They are also expected to approve the Vientiane Plan of Action for the 2008-2012 period.

The 2008 summit is expected to accelerate implementation of the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) agreement on cross-border transportation in the GMS.

The 1,450km EWEC is the first land route linking the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean in Southeast Asia, running through 13 provinces of four GMS countries - Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.

Ratified at the 8th GMS Ministerial Meeting in Manila of the Philippines in October 1998, it aims to tap the potential of the region through road transport, assisting in developing the sub-region, accelerating poverty reduction and narrowing the development gap between EWEC and other areas in the GMS.

EWEC countries are poor in infrastructure but rich in potential. Central Vietnam is home to many deep seaports, natural resources and has diverse tourism capabilities.

Central and Lower Laos have agro-forestry, hydro-electric power and mining potential, while Thailand and Myanmar provinces are strong in agricultural, consumer and construction material production.

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GMA in 11th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC) in Hong Kong

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo brings with her the best of what the Filipino and the Philippines can offer when she addresses the 11th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC) in Hong Kong from March 30 (Sunday) to April 1 (Tuesday).

The President is expected to make a strong pitch for the country as a valued investors' destination in the Asia-Pacific region to some 1,500 investors from all over the world, including representatives of the top 300 companies in the region.

In her departure statement this afternoon, the President stressed that "it is imperative that we stay focused on continuing to strengthen our economy through aggressive outreach to investors and to enhance our cooperation with governments in the region like Hong Kong at a time when the Philippine economy is at its strongest in over 30 years."

"As a result of our economic program in the Philippines, we have diversified our economy, built up our foreign reserves, stimulated a surge of foreign investment and made heavy government investments in human and physical infrastructure. We have done all this while having the strongest balance sheet in a generation, including being on the verge of a balanced budget," the President added.

In an interview before boarding the Philippine Airlines (PAL) commercial flight for Hong Kong, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said the President will present to the world business leaders the Philippines as the "best value for foreign investments" in the region.

Aside from keynoting the AIC, the President will also meet with the Filipino community in the former Crown Colony, and walk them through several programs designed to protect their remittances from the harsh effects of fluctuating exchange rate and the strengthening peso.

A representative of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will discuss its Peso Hedging Program, while the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will present its "i-Net Negosyo" program and OFW Cash Card.

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