Thailand and China acknowledge having advantages over their GMS neighbors in the free trade area but insist that, in the long run, free trade will reduce the gaps in the levels of economic development among GMS members.
An ADB assessment indicates the region will need $15 billion in development funds for the five-year period between 2006-2010. Japan has pledged $1.5 billion. $400 million of which will be provided to Laos, although it is estimated that Laos will need $2.1 billion for the five-year period.
Listen to our Laos Today report for details.