Chair's Summary Report
ACMECS Leaders' Midterm Review Retreat
13 January 2007
Cebu, the Philippines
The ACMECS Leaders’ Midterm Review Retreat was held on 13 January 2007 in Cebu, the Philippines, on the sidelines of the 12th ASEAN Summit, and attended by H.E. Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. Mr. Bouasone Bouphavanh, Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, H.E. General Soe Win, Prime Minister of the Union of Myanmar, H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and their respective delegations.
H.E. General Surayud Chulanont (Ret.), Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, chaired the Retreat.
In his welcoming remarks, the Chair assured other members of Thailand’s continuing strong commitment to ACMECS and to each of its neighbouring countries, and urged all members to work together closely to steer ACMECS towards its desired goals.
Leaders updated each other on the activities in the area(s) of cooperation coordinated by their respective countries. They commended ministers and officials for the progress made, while agreeing that much remained to be done. They identified the need for greater speed, more flexibility, and more effective mobilisation of resources and financing.
Leaders agreed on the importance of engaging development partners more, including closer and more regular interaction and involvement in project formulation.
In the area of Trade and Investment Facilitation, Leaders noted the progress made in improving the existing payment system and promoting the use of local currencies to facilitate cross-border trade. They called for more involvement from the business sector and encouraged the joint ACMECS Business Council to meet more regularly.
In the area of Agricultural Cooperation, Leaders welcomed Cambodia’s proposal to undertake a study to explore the possibility of ACMECS establishing an association of rice producing countries. Leaders also looked forward to strengthened cooperation in contract farming, including the signing of Memoranda of Understanding on contract farming.
In the area of Industrial Cooperation, Leaders emphasized the importance of cooperation on alternative and renewable energy sources, including hydropower and biofuels, and continued to support the ongoing ACMECS study.
In the area of Transport Linkages, Leaders noted the successful completion of several road and railway linkages projects. They highlighted the importance of transportation and stressed that ACMECS activities in this area should complement but not duplicate work under other regional frameworks such as the CLMV and the GMS. Leaders emphasized the need for members to coordinate closely on issues such as software, capacity building and financial resources.
Leaders welcomed Thailand’s initiative to establish one-stop-service centers along the East-West Economic Corridor and to organise a Special ACMECS Ministerial Meeting on Infrastructure in the first quarter of 2007.
In the area of Tourism Cooperation, Leaders welcomed the progress made in the ACMECS Single Visa pilot project between Thailand and Cambodia, with the understanding that other members may consider joining the scheme when ready.
In the area of Human Resource Development, Leaders emphasized the need for capacity building and training programs to foster an intellectual society in the region.
In the area of Public Health, Leaders called for continued efforts in the prevention and protection of emerging infectious diseases.
Leaders confirmed the understanding reached by Ministers at their Pakse Meeting that ACMECS was separate from the CMLV, and that any overlapping projects should be carried out under ACMECS.
Leaders welcomed the proposal by Cambodia that a Summit be held for the Emerald Triangle cooperation framework among Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR.
Leaders agreed that the hosting of Senior Officials’ Meetings, Ministerial Meetings, and Summits go by alphabetical order of member countries’ names.
Leaders agreed that to enable member countries to regularly monitor and expedite the work of ACMECS, it was important to have the highest level of representation possible at the meetings of the ACMECS Working Group (AWG) in Bangkok.
Leaders adopted the updated ACMECS Plan of Action for 2006 and the shortlisted 14 Flagship Projects for development partners’ consideration, which had been endorsed by the ACMECS Ministerial Meeting in Pakse in July 2006.
Department of International Economic Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand