“Development of Connectivity to further Support Development in other Aspects.” – H.E Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand
June 27, 2019
FGD: NCIA visited CIMT
July 8, 2019

12th IMT-GT Summit, Bangkok Thailand

BANGKOK (June 27, 2019)

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The 12th IMT-GT Summit was held on June 23, 2019 in conjunction with the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok. The meeting was completed with significant commitment made by the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to enhance trade, investment, and connectivity within the subregion while giving their guidance to collaborate under trade and environment challenges.

In the 26th year after its establishment, the 12th IMT-GT Summit was chaired by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; the head of state when IMT-GT cooperation was found, and Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. At the meeting, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and the ASIAN Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao made their presence as development partners.

Mr. Darmin Nasution, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of Indonesia presented the progress report of IMT-GT to the Leaders. The highlights are covering implementation of projects and progress actions upon seven key strategic pillars of IMT-GT. With technical assistance of ADB, in 2019 IMT-GT will conduct assessment of the five existing IMT-GT economic corridors and a study of the proposed sixth corridor linking three southern border provinces of Thailand (Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat) with Perak and Kelantan in Malaysia, and southern Sumatra in Indonesia. IMT-GT adopted the conceptual economic corridor approach to implement projects in order to enhance trade, tourism, and physical connectivity. The target development is promoting smooth movement of trade and people-to-people within the subregion; of which to bring benefit to local people.

The Leaders noted on the completion of South Sumatera Light Rail Transit in Palembang, the progress of CIQ in Songkhla and Betong Airport in Yala of Thailand, and the Dumai-Melaka Ro-Ro Service between Malaysia and Indonesia. The Leaders reiterated their commitment to promote connectivity among the subregion. The Minister of Transport of three countries has recently signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Expansion of Air Linkages on 9 November 2018 to maximize the potential of air linkages within the subregion. The member government and private sector will be encouraged to utilize most of this MOU to promote extension of air connectivity. ASEAN Secretary General expressed his thought that this movement of IMT-GT would increase connectivity between secondary cities and boost up trade and tourism among neighbor countries.

Under trade and investment collaboration, together with BIMP-EAGA, IMT-GT took part in Joint Time Release Study on Cargo Clearance and Trade. All IMT-GT member countries have commenced the implementation of ASEAN Single Window since 1 January 2019, that allows preferential tariff duty to be granted based on electronic data exchange and received electronically through the ASEAN Single Window gateway.

IMT-GT area is resourceful with economic commodities and tourism destination. At this Summit, the Leaders exchanged views on current situation of rubber and oil palm issues. The three countries are the leading producer of natural rubber to world market and most of rubber plantation and production are in the IMT-GT area. President Joko Widodo as the Chairperson encouraged collaboration to handle with declining rubber price, and the discrimination of palm oil industry by international market. The Prime Minister of Malaysia highlighted on exploring opportunities to promote economy of the region while Prime Minister of Thailand voiced voice on the current global and regional trends which have created new consumption and trade patterns, development of green city networks and concrete logistics green transport systems.

IMT-GT is niche area for tourism and member countries are working together to promote joint tourism circuit and route with the advantage of the proximity and diversity among its tourism destination.

Under the IMT-GT collaboration, the local government and private sector are driving mechanism. The local government at provincial and state levels underscore their key role in environment and climate change resilience. The ADB-supported IMT-GT Green Cities Initiative and the SUDF 2019-2036 are recognized by ASEAN to complement the ASEAN Sustainable Urbanisation Strategy (ASUS) under the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025. There are green cities supported by ADB in all three countries. Recently ADB has launched the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility under the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund to spur green infrastructure development and help countries design robust and bankable green projects.

The three leaders’ commitment was asserted in the Leaders’ Joint Statement. The Leaders emphasized their goodwill to achieve IMT-GT Vision 2036 which has alignment with ASEAN Vision. The goal of IMT-GT is to enhance the subregion to be more competitive in facing with the regional and global economic trends. The Leaders agreed to strengthen and accelerate the economic cooperation to achieve mutual goals. Opportunities in connectivity, transportation and logistics, infrastructure, energy, trade, environment, investment, tourism, halal and human resource development should be fully maximized to achieve inclusive growth to increase life quality of the people.

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