Hubs and Spokes: Emerging Patterns of Intra-Mekong Trade and Investment

Recently trade and investment within four countries of the Mekong (Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam) have been expanding. This trend reflects structural changes in the Mekong economies in question, patterns of trade relationships in Mekong, and the economic policies imposed by the Mekong governments.

Sarinna Areethamsirikul argues in this report that a pattern of trade relationships is emerging in these countries, which can be likened to hubs and spokes. The asymmetrical interdependence between the hub and spoke countries, and the unequal gains that are being generated within such a relationship shapes the effects that trade and investment have on people’s livelihood, environment, income distribution, labour rights, and land rights in Mekong.