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Greater Mekong Sub-region Business Forum Board Directors Meet in Beijing

China has taken over the rotative presidency of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Business Forum from Vietnam. The handover took place during the GMS-BF Board of Directors’ Meeting in Beijing on February 1, 2010.

The meeting was attended by the leaders of the national chambers of commerce of China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand who constitute the GMS-BF core members, board of directors from these countries’ business circles, the China office representatives of the Asian Development Bank as well as the leaders of the federations of industry and commerce of Yunnan and Guangxi provinces.

Hoang Van Dung, the outgoing GMS-BF chairman and First Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry handed over GMS-BF’s rotation presidency to the incoming chairman Sun Anmin, who is also the Vice Chairman of All-China Federation of Commerce. Sun’s two-year term will end in 2011.

In his address, Sun said that the GMS-BF’s six member countries are all emerging economies with the urgent need for development and great growth potential. As their economic inter-dependency has increased in the wake of the global financial crisis, regional cooperation should be tightened to promote their optimal resource allocation, holistic economic strength and crisis-prevention ability.

Sun said the GMS-BF members should take advantage of the newly established China-ASEAN Free Trade Area to promote and accelerate their sub-regional economic cooperation as the CAFTA aims to remove the barriers to regional goods trade, service trade and investment trade gradually.

During its term of the presidency, China will work closely with the chambers of commerce and corporations of the sub-region to overcome challenges and pursue development.

ACFIC Chairman Huang Mengfu also expressed hope that the forum will play a greater role in promoting government and corporate relations, speaking up for the enterprises and promoting sub-regional trade and economic cooperation.

Established in October 2000, the GMS-BF is a multi-country, independent, non-government organization, and a joint initiative of the chambers of commerce of the six GMS countries. It plays a key role in promoting and facilitating cross-border trade and investment in the region.

The main goal of the GMS-BF is to foster cooperation and growth of the private sector through information sharing, networking, and public–private sector dialogue. It is active on issues of common interest to members such as trade facilitation, cross-border trade agreements, and pre-shipment financing and capacity building for small and medium-sized enterprises. The forum seeks to promote the GMS as a unique trade-investment-transport hub.

Membership is open to businesses of all kinds, international and national, operating in GMS countries. With the secretariat office in Vientiane and three satellite offices in Bangkok, Hanoi, and Beijing, the GMS-BF is well positioned to respond to all business inquiries with the expertise of its management and local staff.