The third summit of the Greater Mekong Sub-region officially ended on Monday, March 31, with a signing ceremony of a joint communique in which the leaders of the six member-nations declare their intention to continuously expand their cooperation. The two-day summit was held in the Laotian capital of Vientiane.
The GMS leaders also adopted the Vientiane Action Plan to be used as a guideline for their cooperation for the next five years. The leaders of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, and Burma agreed to expand their cooperation on nine important development areas: trade, communications, transportation, private investment, tourism, human resources development, agriculture, energy development and environment, under the goal of linking their countries into a completely developed area that can effectively compete in the world market.
GMS cooperation since the group's inception in 1992 with the help of the Asian Development Bank, has turned the region into one of the fastest growing regions of the world, with an aggregate economic growth rate of over 6% in recent years. Total export values have increased from 37,000 million dollars in 1992 to more than 179,000 million dollars in 2006. The number of tourists visiting countries in the GMS region has also increased from 10 million people in 1995 to over 22 millions in 2006.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details in Laos.