The leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) agreed yesterday in Vientiane on future plans to narrow the development gap between the four newer Asean members and the other six member states.

Various agreements to this effect were reached at the 90-minute 6th Summit of the CLMV country leaders that took place in the Lao capital following the meetings of the CLMV foreign ministers and senior officials that convened yesterday and on Monday.

Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong presided over the summit, attended by his counterparts Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen of Cambodia, Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam, Myanmar Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, and Asean Secretary General Le Luong Minh.

The CLMV leaders agreed to facilitate the cross-border movement of goods and people, according to the three-page joint statement of the summit.

They noted the success of Laos and Vietnam in launching the ‘one-stop service’ for customs and immigration inspection at the Dansavan-Lao Bao international border checkpoint and agreed to expand the system to other feasible checkpoints in the CLMV countries.

The aim is to create a network of single-stop inspection connectivity to facilitate trade, investment, tourism and transportation among the four countries, and boost economic development to close the gap with other Asean member states.

The leaders also agreed to deepen coordination to make the best use of the economic corridors across the four countries, namely the north-south economic corridor, east-west economic corridor, and southern economic corridor.

They reiterated their commitment to implement all existing agreements between and among the four countries to promote trade and investment in the CLMV countries and other nation states.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to working closely with each other to enhance our cooperation in accelerating Asean’s integration efforts,” the heads of state and government of the CLMV countries were quoted as saying in the joint statement afterwards.

Regarding agricultural, industry and energy cooperation, they agreed to mutually facilitate investment through relevant investment incentives in numerous important areas.

Focal areas will include the production and processing of agricultural products, mineral exploitation, renewable energy, sustainable hydropower development, oil and gas exploitation, telecommunications infrastructure, and service provision.

They agreed to further enhance their cooperation to exchange information and technologies and to develop joint research in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, forestry, livestock, veterinary science, aquaculture, industry and energy.

The four leaders also pledged to extend their efforts to realise the CLMV multilateral agreements on air services.

In addition, the summit participants recalled the outcome of the first CLMV Tourism Ministers Meeting held in September in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, when the Joint Plan on CLMV Tourism Cooperation for 2013-2015 was endorsed to boost growth in the tourism sector.

In 2012, the four countries registered increasing tourist arrivals totaling 14.8 million people, a growth of 19.7 percent compared to 2011.

To help develop their human resources, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar requested Vietnam to further extend the government scholarships it grants to citizens of the other three countries.

At the same time, they thanked the government of Vietnam for the scholarships provided in previous years.

The CLMV leaders also thanked the government of Japan for providing more than 157 billion kip (US$20 million) to finance various projects. Thanks also went to the Asean Secretariat for continued support in mobilising project funding.

The summit called upon the Asean countries and other development partners to continue their support and assistance to the four countries in realising remaining projects to enable them to narrow the development gap.

The leaders agreed to encourage the participation of the private sector to invest in the implementation of CLMV projects and reviewed the progress made in carrying out past projects.
The summit welcomed Myanmar’s offer to host the next summit in 2014.

The CLMV Summit was in itiated in 2004 to speed up the narrowing of the development gap between the four new and six older Asean member countries and accelerate Asean integration towards realising the Asean Economic Community by 2015.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 15, 2013)