Tremendous business opportunities have been afforded over the years by the founding of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region Economic Cooperation Program (GMS Program), said Jin Liqun, vice president of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Sunday.
And today, the six countries that share the Mekong River China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam "are aggressively pursuing policy and institutional reforms to encourage greater private sector participation in critical areas," he said.
Jin made the remarks at the opening of the Forum on Business Participation for Cooperation in the GMS, a supplement to the two-day Second GMS Summit, which will be opened and presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao from today. Wen arrived in Kunming yesterday.
Prime ministers of the six GMS member countries will gather today to review the progress of cooperation and chart the future course of action by passing a leaders' declaration and signing a series of cooperative agreements.
And the Chinese government will issue the second state report explaining its stance on participating in GMS cooperation during the summit meeting.
About 300 business executives and policy-makers participated in the business forum yesterday to exchange views on how the government and business sectors can further collaborate in addressing development issues confronting the Greater Mekong River. They will meet leaders today to discuss how to further enhance the role of business in the GMS, especially in the fields of transportation, telecommunications, energy, trade and tourism.
Jin noted that the dialogue would be a landmark event, setting the stage for a new era of cooperation between the GMS's public and private sectors. The GMS regional cooperation program, which ADB has been supporting since 1992, has been actively promoting the participation of the private sector in GMS activities.
Statistics from ADB showed that since the inception of the GMS program, foreign direct investment has increased three times, total exports have grown six-fold and intra-regional exports have grown more than 10-fold in the sub-region. Annual GDP growth across the region has averaged over 6 percent during the last few years.
(China Daily July 4, 2005)