A recent analysis showed that market value of the chestnut crop from trees planted in Cao Bang could reach USD 26 million annually by the year 2013. A major advantage is that the chestnut harvest season coincides with the main period of demand in the large Japanese, Taiwan, and South East Asian Markets. It was hoped that the Cao Bang chestnut industry would be part of the next EC-funded project in Cao Bang. The PMU believed that the industry holds tremendous promise to alleviate poverty among the upland farmers, but that it required a serious and sustained marketing and processing effort.

This project was a manifestation of the overall movement of ASEAN towards encouraging the development of service-based trade economies, as part of its general objective to promote economic growth through liberalisation. The project investigated and identified obstacles to this transition, and the final report recommended methods to facilitate deeper and continued liberalisation of trade in services within the ASEAN community. The main aims of this SDNAS were firstly to determine the capacity building needs required to open up trade in selected service sectors across both individual ASEAN Member States (AMS) and the wider ASEAN region, and secondly to propose an integrated work plan that recommends follow-up actions to address those needs. 

The program for access Improvement to Markets in the Eastern Region of East Timor Leste (AIM) directly supported the National Development Plan designed to facilitate the country’s economic and social development through the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the bridge network in potentially rich agricultural districts in the Eastern region, namely Viqueque and Lautern. The project was originally designed for 2.5 years until end of 2006 but was extended to the end of 2008 with an additional USD 700,000 contribution from the Government of Timor Leste.

In the Lao PDR, the German Government, through the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has two sectoral programs: 1). The ‘Human Resource Development for a Market Economy’ (HRDME) Program dealing with issues of Framework Conditions for economic development, labour market-oriented vocational education & training as well as the promotion of SME’s at the national level 2). The Rural Development of Mountainous Areas (RDMA) Program in Northern Lao PDR. Under the HRDME Program research was conducted on the impacts of large foreign investment projects has on SMEs. In this assignment the objective was to undertake two cases studies on the negative and positive socio-economic impacts of large/foreign investment on the national and local economy, more specifically Lao Brewery and Lang Xane Minerals.

Following the successful completion of the pilot testing of P.A.C.E. program in Gap outsourced manufacturing garment factories in India and Cambodia, the program was rolled out in other countries including Vietnam, Bangladesh and China. As part of the P.A.C.E. program roll-out in one of Gap Inc.’s partner factories in Vietnam, ICRW wanted to undertake a baseline survey in selected garment factory in Vietnam. The objective of this study was to collect baseline information for the P.A.C.E. participants, female garment workers (FGWs), that undergo P.A.C.E. training, and then compare the information with end-line results to evaluate the effect of training on women’s livelihoods. The present scope of work is only limited to conducting the baseline survey. ICRW would like to conduct quantitative research/a survey of selected participants in the unit of Vina Korea in Khai Quang Industrial Zone, Vinh Yen City, Vinh Phuc, Vietnam. The survey was conducted in the month of May 2011. ICRW facilitated the discussions and processes for conducting the baseline survey with the factory partners.

The project had three primary objectives: 1). Give a set of recommendations for policy-makers and for garment business managers, which would spill over to the development of other industries in terms of both government policy and business managerial procedures. The scope and approach of governmental intervention on the garment sector provided lessons for policy-makers to apply to other sectors such as furniture, footwear and food processing sectors. 2). Contribute to the understanding that governmental intervention can reduce the negative effects of globalization while strengthening the benefits of liberalization, which is a controversial topic among international scholars 3). Propose policies and strategies to help Vietnam’s garment firms to overcome the challenges of the changes in international trade regimes.

The Project “Improving Business Relations Between Swedish and Vietnamese Companies Through IT Development” was a research project funded by The Swedish Program for Information and Communication Technology in Developing Regions. The scope of Mekong Economics’ contribution to the project included an analysis of Industrial Demands and IT-Infrastructure and the development of a project website.

The Getting Financial Services Survey Initiative was a new World Bank Group program which had been launched for the first time in 2007. The goal was to collect information on availability of a spectrum of retail financial services through the principal commercial banks of a country, and to understand how such services could be expanded or strengthened. The program was initially launched in a pilot group of 30-50 countries world wide, with the aim of achieving global coverage within a year. A standardized survey instrument was used across all countries to ensure cross-country comparability.

The sector analyses for the mechanical engineering and plastics sectors were produced for the Danish Embassy to distribute to potential Danish investors in Vietnam as a part of the Royal Danish Embassy in Hanoi’s Commercial Services program. The sector analyses were made available on the Royal Danish Embassy in Hanoi’s website: www.ambhanoi.um.dk.

The 6th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Minerals (ASOMM) at Vientiane, Lao PDR, on July 2004, requested that the ASEAN Secretariat explore options for undertaking a study on ‘Promoting Sustainable Minerals Trade and Investment in ASEAN’. In response to this request, the ASEAN Secretariat, through the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP) Regional Economic Policy Support Facility (REPSF), contracted ABARE and MKE to undertake REPSF project no. 04/009 Enhancing ASEAN Minerals Trade and Investment.