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Mekong nations to expand trade

Update: November, 23/2013 - 08:00
A press release from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) quoted James Lynch, the director of its Souteast Asia regional co-operation divison as saying "œIntraregional trade, tourism, and investments are essential for boosting growth and standards of living in the subregion."

MANILA (VNS)— Countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have endorsed measures to expedite and expand cross border transport and trade, including stepping up bilateral and trilateral country agreements.

A press release from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) quoted James Lynch, the director of its Souteast Asia regional co-operation divison as saying "œIntraregional trade, tourism, and investments are essential for boosting growth and standards of living in the subregion."

"œMember countries have agreed to continue to fast track and streamline transport and trade facilitation measures, and we will continue to accelerate our common goals of transforming transport corridors into economic corridors," he said.

At the 4th Joint Committee Meeting for the GMS Cross Border Transport Agreement (CBTA) in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, GMS transport ministers endorsed a three-year action plan (2013-16) to support implementation of the next phase of transport and trade facilitation measures.

This pioneering transport agreement, ratified in 2003, provides a blueprint for non-physical measures needed to boost cross border land transport, including "single stop" customs inspections.

ADB is a key development partner of the GMS, and serves as secretariat for the Joint Committee. The GMS, with strong support from development partners, including ADB and Australian Aid, has made significant headway since 2010 with bilateral transport and traffic rights agreements; agreement on the extension of the East-West Economic Corridor to include key capitals and deep sea ports; and the launching of a transport and trade facilitation knowledge portal.

Among the most significant recent achievements are an agreement between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Viet Nam allowing trucks and buses of both countries to travel into each other's inland territories along a 1,300km route, boosting tourism and trade. — VNS


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