News From : DagangHalal.com (13 Oct 2009)
Economic co-operation under the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) initiative will get a boost after Japan has agreed to become a development partner in the regional programme.
The Japanese government’s Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia will participate in the IMT-GT meeting from Oct 13-14 in Malaysia.
This underlines the economic co-operation under the scheme, said Virachai Virameteekul, the Prime Minister’s Office Minister.
The IMT-GT was formed in 1993 by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to accelerate economic activity in less developed provinces, with the private sector promoting economic co-operation.
The IMT-GT has since grown in geographic scope and activities to encompass more than 70 million people. It comprises 14 provinces in southern Thailand, the eight states of peninsular Malaysia, and the 10 provinces of Sumatra in Indonesia.
However, according to Mr Virachai, the IMT-GT’s development was a bit slow compared to the economic co-operation of the Greater Mekong Subregion.
He said the Japanese government saw the potential of the IMT-GT while a joint business council would organise a business opportunities forum.
Thailand plans to propose co-operation on tourism and halal food.
For tourism, Thailand will propose organising an IMT-GT Celebration period between 2009-2015 in order to boost tourism via package tours in the three countries.
Mr Virachai also wants to develop Phuket as a wellness and medical hub because of its medical services.
The countries will also be urged to develop halal product standards together.
Discussion at the meeting will also cover setting up a task force to oversee the facilitation of customs, immigration and quarantine systems, as well as searching for ways to develop infrastructure in the three nations.