REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE
ACMECS SENIOR OFFICIALS’ MEETING
IN PREPARATION FOR THE 2nd ACMECS SUMMIT
1 NOVEMBER 2005
I am pleased to report on the outcome of the ACMECS SOM in preparation for the 2 nd
ACMECS Summit, which took place here in Bangkok yesterday.
The objectives of yesterday’s meeting were to review the progress of ACMECS, to
exchange views on the future of ACMECS cooperation, and to prepare the draft
declarations for submission to today’s Ministerial Meeting.
ACMECS senior officials were briefed by the chairman of the sectoral working groups
on the progress in the implementation of priority projects in the areas of Trade and
Investment Facilitation, Agricultural and Industrial Cooperation, Human Resource
Development, and Public Health. The meeting noted the reports and discussed ways to
facilitate and accelerate project implementation.
Member countries also exchanged views on future work in each area of cooperation.
Following are some highlights of our deliberations.
1. Trade and Investment Facilitation: the SOM welcomed the establishment of the
ACMECS Joint Business Council in September 2005, and the expansion of the One-
Way Free Trade scheme by Thailand to include all agricultural products under the
Contract Farming programme. We discussed the need to address rules and regulations,
such as export restrictions, that unintentionally impede trade and investment, to
facilitate freer flow of trade in the sub-region.
2. Agricultural and Industrial Cooperation: the SOM agreed on the need to create
bilateral working committees to discuss a G-to-G framework on Contract Farming to
help promote confidence in long-term investment. We recommend that the bilateral
committees discuss the cultivation of oil crops and the development of alternative
energy programmes, including hydropower and a regional energy grid. The SOM also
welcomed the project proposal on community-based biofuels, and agreed to task the
working group to study the project in detail.
3. Transportation Linkages: the SOM noted slow progress in some projects such as
the Chiang Khong – Houay Sai – Luang Nam Tha – Boten Route and the Huaikon - Pak
Beng Route, and agreed to step up efforts to expedite the work.
4. Tourism cooperation: The SOM welcomed the pilot project on the ACMECS
Single Visa which will begin with the bilateral signing of an MoU between Cambodia
and Thailand immediately after the Leader’s Retreat. The SOM welcomed the concept
paper on the Buddhist Trail concept and tasked the working group to consider ways and
means to implement the programme, in order to promote tourism linkages among
important Buddhist places in the region.
5. Human Resource Development: the SOM welcomed Thailand’s concept paper
on E-learning, and agreed to task the Working Group to work with relevant agencies to
set up the system and its content. We warmly welcomed the Thai-Vietnam cooperation
programme on capacity building for vocational training for countries in the region.
6. Public Health: the SOM considered and agreed to submit for Ministers’
consideration the draft Declaration on Partnership in Combating Avian Influenza and
Other Infectious Diseases submitted by the Public Health Working Group. We agreed
that the draft reflects our desire to strengthen surveillance and response systems in the
sub-region, share and exchange knowledge, and enhance coordination among
institutions and agencies concerned with human and animal health. The meeting also
welcomed Thailand’s concept paper on E-health. We agreed to task the working group
to study ways to implement the concept paper, in particular the establishment of a
In order to facilitate and expedite the implementation of future work, ACMECS senior
officials agreed to set up the ACMECS Coordination Working Group. The working
group is tasked to meet bi-monthly in Bangkok to coordinate work, assess progress and
obstacles, and report to SOM. Participants will be representatives of the member
countries’ embassies in Bangkok. Chairmanship will rotate annually, based on the host
of the next Ministerial Meeting. We also agreed to continue our discussion on the
rotation of the chairmanship of the six sectoral working groups.
In addition, the SOM agreed to update the Plan of Action to reflect Vietnam’s
participation, progress in project implementation, and current developments. We agreed
to arrange a workshop, to be chaired by Lao PDR and hosted by Thailand, early next
year to discuss the updated Plan of Action.
The SOM is pleased to submit for Ministers’ consideration the draft Declaration of the
2nd ACMECS Summit and the draft Declaration on Partnership in Combating Avian
Influenza and Other Infectious Diseases, both of which will serve as the official
outcomes of the Summit.
I would respectfully ask that Ministers consider taking note of our progress and carrying
it forward in your discussions as you deem appropriate.