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A Special Economic Zone (SEZs) refers to designated areas in countries with special economic regulations conducive to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), such as tax incentives and lower tariffs that differ from other areas in the same country. SEZs have become a prime catalyst for regional development in the ASEAN countries. The study also found that SEZs also increase export levels and stimulates cross-border trade.

The Mekong Studies Center (CUMSC) and the Chinese Studies Center (CUCSC) is part of the Chulalongkorn University Research Center and CUMSC is also a think tank and consultant for Thai government agencies such as Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA). CUMSC recognizes the significance of developing SEZs in ASEAN, which will pave the way for the integration of regional economies.

The specific goals of the conference were to :
1. Share experiences, lessons learned between Lao and Thai scholars, representatives from government agencies
and private sector institutions in Luang Prabang province;
2. Discuss how current economic relations in trade, tourism and investment flows between Lao -Thai and Mekong
countries affect the prospects of developing LSEZ, opportunities and challenges;
3. Discuss possible areas of cooperation between Lao -Thai in developing LSEZ;
4. Offer policy recommendations that may strengthen Lao-Thai cooperation and partnership in promoting SEZs and
socio-economic development cooperation in Mekong region.

10.CENTER FOR SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES (CSEAS), NATIONAL CHENGCHI UNIVERSITY, TAIWAN

Center for Southeast Asian Studies, National Chengchi University

No.64, Wanshou Rd., Wenshan Dist., Taipei City 116, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

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