Khon Kaen, Mekong Institute (MI) successfully conducted a regional seminar on “ASEAN Economic Community: Sharing Perspective, Knowledge and Experience” on September 19, 2016. The seminar was organized as part of an ongoing project on “Enhancing Competitiveness of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) of ASEAN Mekong Sub-region (AMS).”
The seminar created an interactive platform for all participants to share knowledge and perspective and exchange experience in ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and its Blueprints 2015 – 2025 from the perspectives of the four countries (Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam). In his opening speech, Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, Executive Director of MI, mentioned the prospects, challenges, and differences currently in place. He called for more synergy between ASEAN member states to make the ASEAN as “one community, one vision” a success during the implementation of ASEAN Blueprint 2025.
In addition to the discussion of ASEAN and ASEAN Blueprint, the seminar reviewed the development issues related to Cross-Border Trade and Trade Facilitation along the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC). The participants also shared knowledge and experience in Small & Medium-sized (SME) internalization in the context of deeper economic integration in the region, SME financing models and supply chain financing from the perspectives of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). Additionally discussed were the dynamics of the cooperation between India and ASEAN, and SEC development from Dawei, transnational clusters cooperation and innovation platform through Otagai forum model and the proposed SEC development.
The participants, especially the project partners, beneficiaries, and stakeholders from both public and private sectors in 19 provinces, gained a better understanding of ASEAN and GMS frameworks. The seminar helped to realize the importance of the SEC and the role of SMEs and business development models in the engagement of SEC, in both regional and global production networks for deeper economic integration.
A total of 75 participants representing the national Ministries of Industry, Commerce, Labor and Vocational Training, provincial departments related to trade and industries and Business Chambers from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam attended. The event was also attended by the representative of SME product clusters from 19 provinces along the southern economic corridor in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, beside the members of the project steering committee of the SEC project.