|The 13th Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam Economic Ministers’ Meeting (CLMV EMM 13) was held online. (photo: VNA)
The CLMV cooperative mechanism was created in 2003 to narrow development gaps and promote the integration of the Mekong sub-region and ASEAN. It aims to promote the potentials and advantages of each member country, elicit support from other ASEAN countries and ASEAN’s developed partners, and protect economic connectivity within ASEAN and with ASEAN partners like China, Japan, and South Korea. CLMV cooperates in six areas: trade and investment, agriculture, industry and energy, transportation, tourism, and human resource development.
Post-pandemic recovery plan
One of the key topics the CLMV Economic Ministers discussed was a post-pandemic economic recovery plan and follow-up steps to promote trade, investment, and connectivity.
2021 is proving to be a difficult year for every country as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread with no end yet in sight. Despite the pandemic, CLMV’s trade and investment continued to grow in 2020 and 2021. The Ministers discussed policies, measures, and practices in their countries to continue the economic recovery plan, promote trade and investment, and strengthen connectivity within CLMV.
They agreed to facilitate export and import activities, particularly customs clearance at border gates, and encourage cooperation among CLMV businesses in the food production and processing sectors to form a regional supply chain centered in CLMV. The Ministers pledged to strengthen CLMV connectivity in coordination with ASEAN’s Connectivity Plan until 2025.
Promoting ASEAN’s economic recovery
ASEAN’s biggest challenge in integration is to narrow development gaps between members, specifically between CLMV countries and the rest. Economic recovery across the region remains fragile, as the reopening roadmap in member states has been disrupted by new COVID-19 variant outbreaks. Generally, ASEAN’s economy is still considered to be positive. The region’s GDP is forecast to grow 4% this year and 5.2% next year.
CLMV countries have launched an economic cooperation action plan and closely worked with each other in trade and investment promotion, organizing trade fairs, exhibitions, and support for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises through the (Business to Business) B2B connecting model.
While regional countries are striving to recover from the pandemic and ramping up vaccination, CLMV cooperation will contribute to narrowing development gaps and boosting ASEAN’s economic growth.