Trade and Investment Facilitation

Growing Opportunities in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS)
“International Seminar on “Promoting Opportunities for Trade, Investment, and Tourism in the GMS” 

Khon Kaen (March 4, 2016) Mekong Institute (MI), in collaboration with the Commercial Affairs Office of Khon Kaen, organized a two-day international seminar on “Promoting Opportunities for Trade, Investment, and Tourism in the GMS” on March 3-4, 2016 at Centara Hotel & Convention Centre, Khon Kaen, Thailand. The seminar aimed to foster opportunities for the “One Tambol One Product (OTOP) – Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)” in the agriculture and tourism sectors in Thailand, and businesses from the GMS countries to better prepare for market access and integration into ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) with improved productivity, competiveness through business cooperation. 

At the inauguration, Mr. Sitthiporn Bangkeaw, Director of the Office of Commercial Affairs Khon Kaen, Mr. Siwarot Mongmaiporn Deputy Governor of Khon Kaen Province, and Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, MI Executive Director warmly welcomed the participants to the seminar. The speakers emphasized the significance of promoting opportunities for trade, investment and tourism to OTOP-SMEs in Thailand and the GMS with the formation of AEC. They urged the participants to join hands to strengthen cooperation and business network. 

Focusing on the thematic areas : (i) Enhancing Competiveness for GMS Businesses in the context of AEC, (ii) Attractive Destination for Overseas Investors, and (iii) Promoting Tourism as a Main Driver for GMS Growth, the seminar created an active platform for the speakers to present information, share experiences and best practices in specific sectors, and discuss with the participants representing OTOP-SMEs, government officials, and business owners of leading companies in the GMS countries. The discussion focused on important issues to enhanced market linkages, physical connectivity, public and private partnership (PPP) in investment and trade development, and development of tourism industries in the GMS. 

Through the seminar, the participants were able to gain information about the current trade and investment trends and prepare themselves for growing opportunities in the GMS. The seminar provided an enabling environment for cooperation among the stakeholders in the public and private sectors and received strong support to promote OTOP in Thailand. 

At the closing remark, Dr. Watcharas emphasized that in order to ensure inclusive growth and common market in the sub-region that creates the win-win situation – as mentioned by speakers in the seminar – SME, government sectors and related agencies have to apply the 5 Cs principle including Connectivity, Capacity building, Cooperation, Creativity, and Coordination. 

PowerPoint of the panel speakers can be downloaded below; 

1. Session 1–Enhancing Competitiveness for GMS Business in the context of AEC
– Mr. Moe Myint Kyaw, Secretary-General, UMFCCI 

– Ms. Sengdavone Bangonesengdeth, Secretary General, LNCCI
2. Session 2– GMS: Attractive Destination for Overseas Investors
– Oknha SREAT Mom Sophear, Secretary General, CWEA
– Mr. Sunny Chau, Director of Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) 

3. Session 3– Promoting Tourism as a Main Driver for GMS Growth
– Mr.Taweebhong Wichaidit, Deputy Director-General, DASTA
– Mr. Kemchart Somjaiwong, Vice Chairman of Tourism Promotion and Trade and Investment, The Khon Kaen Chamber of Commerce

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