"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Summary of Discussion: The Mekong-Japan International Conference on the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) and the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) "Completing Connectivity, Creating Economic Prosperity"

[Place] Bangkok, Thailand
[Date] September 9, 2010
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

1. The Mekong-Japan International Conference on the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) and the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) under the title "Completing Connectivity, Creating Economic Prosperity" which was co-hosted by the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of Japan, was held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 9 September 2010. The Conference was presided over by H. E. Mr. Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand and H. E. Mr. Osamu Fujimura, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan and was participated by representatives from the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Union of Myanmar, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, relevant international organizations and development partners.

2. The Conference attached importance to the economic development of the EWEC and the SEC which would contribute to the increased connectivity, including the free flow of goods and services in the Mekong region, thereby building a greater sense of community. The Conference focused on policy options and recommendation for transforming the two Transport Corridors into full fledge Economic Corridors, which would complement the GMS development and Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. The outcome of the conference would be shared with relevant parties involved in the realization of GMS development and the elaboration of the Master Plan.

3. To further develop economic corridors, the Conference addressed the following issues :

- Fulfilling infrastructure missing links along the EWEC and the SEC;

- Implementing cross border transport and trade facilitation;

- Promoting corridor investment and establishing logistics distribution and production bases;

- Strengthening capacity building and human resource development for the Mekong region countries peoples;

- Encouraging financial mobilization through public-private partnership and further enhancing effective cooperation between the Mekong region countries and development partners to meet the enormous demands for physical infrastructure in the region.

- Enhancing customs capabilities through capacity-building measures for customs personnel as well as the establishment of single-window and single-stop services;

- Promoting full implementation of the CBTAs;

- Harmonizing rules and standards with transparency.

4. The Conference acknowledged the importance of building basic physical infrastructures which will lay the foundation for economic development. In this context, the Conference appreciated Japan's contributions to the development of EWEC and SEC connectivity. Financial contribution from Japan includes the completed construction of the Second Mekong Friendship Bridge, National Road Route 9 and Cambodia National Roads and the upcoming construction of a bridge across the Mekong River in Neak Loueng in Cambodia and the development of sea ports such as Lach Huyen in Viet Nam. The Conference also appreciated Thailand's financial contribution including the completed road construction along the EWEC from Mae Sot to Thinganyinaung, the upcoming maintenance and upgrade of the road from Mae Sot to Kawkareik in Myanmar, and the connecting road from Kanchanaburi to the border of Thailand-Myanmar along the SEC, the completed road improvement from Koh Kong to Sre Ambel along the Southern Coastal Corridor in Cambodia.

5. The Conference also recognized the vital link between hard and soft infrastructure. With this in mind, the Conference discussed the importance of addressing the soft infrastructure in addition to the hard infrastructures in order to make full use of the Economic Corridors.

6. The outcome of the Conference will be reported to the Second Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting which will take place in October in Hanoi and will be followed up in the Mekong-Japan cooperation.