Officials from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV) participated in a seminar on investment policy formulation held 12-14 June 2013. Countries were represented by a mix of officials from investment ministries and promotion agencies, finance ministries and tax departments, and chambers of commerce.

The training was conducted to strengthen the capacity within the civil service in CLMV countries to design, develop and implement sound investment policies –in-line with the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI). Training modules were designed based on the OECD’s Policy Framework for Investment (PFI), a tool that helps governments identify obstacles to investment in a coherent manner, formulate sound policies to remove obstacles to investment, and effectively implement and monitor policy reforms.

“Among non-OECD members, the OECD sees Southeast Asia as one of the most strategic regions in the world. As such we are glad that a number of ASEAN countries have participated or have expressed interest in conducting investment policy reviews based on the PFI,” said Stephen Thomsen, Head of the Investment Policy Reviews at the OECD.

The IAI, which aims to help the CLMV countries integrate into the ASEAN Community, has identified, through its Work Plan, free flow of investment as a priority and calls for organising capacity building programmes to review, streamline and simplify procedures for investment applications and approvals.

Japan, as incoming Chair of the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, welcomes the training as a way to “promote further cooperation between (the developed countries of) the OECD and ASEAN and deepen their interest in each other,” said Megumi Kito, representative from the Delegation of Japan to the OECD.

The training also looked into possible further assistance for the CLMV by identifying gaps in translating the PFI and ASEAN investment commitments into action in their respective countries.

Nguyen Nguyen Dung from the Foreign Investment Agency, Ministry of Planning and Investment of Viet Nam expressed appreciation for the “in depth knowledge on investment policy review, investment promotion and facilitation, and private sector participation in infrastructure development” that he gained from the workshop and, like other participants, he looked forward to succeeding training opportunities and other supportive activities that will be offered through the IAI relevant to his job in investment policy and promotion.

Officers from the Attachment Programme for CLMV officials, a flagship project under the IAI, also joined the training. Their attendance was to provide exposure to investment issues confronting CLMV and of the structural reforms that need to be undertaken by the respective ministries to attract more investment into the country.

Follow-up initiatives stemming from this seminar will be implemented as part of the IAI, ensuring that such initiatives are supportive of the wider regional aspiration of ASEAN Community Building.

The training seminar was jointly organised by the Government of Viet Nam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the ASEAN Secretariat. It is sponsored by the Government of Japan.