HANOI – The U.S. Departments of State and Commerce and Vietnam Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Transport in collaboration with the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council hosted a Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Infrastructure Best Practices Exchange in Hanoi on January 14-15, 2013. The LMI Infrastructure Best Practices Exchange brought together senior U.S. and regional government officials and private sector representatives responsible for infrastructure development from the United States and the LMI partner countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Highlighting the potential benefits of regional cooperation through the LMI, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear said, "Together, [Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States] can generate cleaner electricity to power regional development; build modern airports, seaports, and transport networks to move goods efficiently; and build information networks to move ideas and drive innovation." Special Representative Lorraine Hariton, Department of State, Economic Bureau said, "This exchange regarding the Lower Mekong Initiative was very important because it brought together regional governments and local and international business to discuss infrastructure best practices that would benefit everyone in this region."
U.S. companies have decades of experience in infrastructure development and are interested in sharing their best practices with countries in the Lower Mekong region. Over 30 U.S. companies attended the LMI Infrastructure Best Practices Exchange, under the banner of "Connect Mekong" in the LMI Connectivity Pillar, to discuss with regional government officials ways to meet the region's growing demand for infrastructure development. U.S. government officials from the Agency for International Development, Army Corps of Engineers, Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Trade and Development Agency, and the Departments of State, Transportation, and Commerce attended the two-day event.
The LMI was created in response to the July 23, 2009, meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Foreign Ministers of the Lower Mekong Countries-Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam-in Phuket, Thailand. The Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation in the areas of environment, health, education, and infrastructure development. Since then, the five countries have sought to strengthen cooperation in these areas and build on their common interests. Myanmar formally joined the initiative in July 2012.
Source: USAID/Press Releases