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METI has Formulated the Mekong Industrial Development Vision

On August 24, 2015, the Mekong Industrial Development Vision, which suggests a path to industrial development in the Mekong region over the course of the five years from 2016 to 2020 and directions for policies to realize this development, was adopted at the Mekong-Japan Economic Ministers' Meeting held in Malaysia. Through implementation of this vision, the economy of the Mekong region is expected to grow by approximately 20 billion dollars in 2020, which is equivalent to 2% of the GDP of the region. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will work with the Mekong region in its future development through specific cooperation projects based on this vision.

The Mekong Industrial Development Vision focuses on the Mekong region not only as a production and export base, but also as a growing consumer market. In addition, the vision focuses on the point that the “Thailand Plus One” trend has emerged mainly among Japanese companies that have expanded into Thailand in such a way that Cambodia, the Lao PDR, and Myanmar are now at the dawn of industrialization. The vision mentions the concept of “Specialization & Collaboration”, which aims for regionally-integrated, continuous development in the future through mutual complementation between the countries, while putting the priority mainly on the industries in which each country has its strengths. Furthermore, because of their regional characteristic of being adjacent to China, India, and the ASEAN countries, the vision shows a picture of the Mekong region becoming the core of a value chain between Asia and the rest of the world by involving the growth of these neighboring countries.
For the purpose of realizing this picture, the issues to be overcome and directions for policies are shown as follows:

  1. Partnering with neighboring countries

    ➢ Trade structures, foreign direct investment, and strengthening of collaboration between businesses

  2. Building a footing for more advanced industrial structures

    ➢ Research and development and strengthening of small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs’) competitiveness

  3. Strengthening infrastructure and resources that support regional value chains

    ➢ Connectivity within the region, responses to energy and environmental matters, and strengthening of human resource development

Regarding these measures, METI will compile them as a specific “Work Programme” in collaboration with related organizations including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the ASEAN-Japan Centre, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). They are scheduled to report on this Work Programme at the 8th Mekong-Japan Economic Ministers' Meeting in 2016, and thereafter, to annually report the progress of the program at Mekong-Japan Economic Ministers' Meetings.

Reference

Release date

August 24, 2015

Division in Charge

Asia and Pacific Division, Trade Policy Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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