Transport and Trade Facilitation

Countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion are working to make the movement of goods and services across borders faster, easier, cheaper, more compliant, and more inclusive.


Over the past decade, the Greater Mekong Subregion’s (GMS) road network has expanded by almost 200,000 kilometers, and overland road freight has almost doubled. Yet despite these advances, remaining barriers to trade and transport continue to inhibit the subregion’s full economic potential and the cost of cross-border land transport remains high.

With much of the hard infrastructure in place, there has been a greater focus in recent years on the rules, regulations, agreements, and other “software” to make the movement of goods and services across borders in the GMS faster, easier, cheaper, more compliant, and more inclusive.

The GMS Transport and Trade Facilitation Action Program is working to overcome existing barriers in order to link the subregion to the ASEAN Economic Community’s single market and production base, as well as other regional cooperation initiatives.

The program is helping to expand transport and traffic rights along the GMS Cross Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (CBTA). route network; simplify and modernize customs procedures and border management; and strengthen the capacity of sanitary and phytosanitary agencies in the subregion.

To facilitate progressive implementation of the CBTA, the GMS Transport Ministers as members of the CBTA Joint Committee have agreed to an “Early Harvest” memorandum of understanding to allow the issuance and mutual recognition of GMS Road Transport Permits along the CBTA Protocol 1 route network and the border crossing points along these routes starting August 2018.

Related

‘Early Harvest’ Implementation of the Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement

Joint Committee for the CBTA

Statement of the Seventh Meeting of the Joint Committee for the CBTA (13 March 2019)

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

Trade Facilitation

  • Cristina Lozano-Astray
    Public Management, Financial Sector, & Trade Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Stephani Kamal
    Public Management, Financial Sector, & Regional Coop Division,
    East Asia Department

Transport Facilitation

    Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

    • Rhodora Concepcion
      Thailand Resident Mission,
      Southeast Asia Department
    • Alma Canarejo
      Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
      Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

    Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.

    Cambodia Plans Improvement of Thailand and Viet Nam Border Gate Facilities

    A press release from the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance announced plans to improve facilities at border gates with Thailand and Viet Nam.   

    Cambodia’s border crossing points with Thailand and Vietnam are crowded with traffic of cross-border transport and tourists. The country wants to develop the necessary infrastructure to manage this traffic flow to ease cross-border transport and boost trade activities.

    The Economic and Financial Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth, approved the proposal. 

    News

    Lao PDR and Myanmar to Work on a New Cooperation Master Plan

    The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Myanmar will explore opportunities to enhance tourism cooperation through bilateral and multilateral frameworks. This was agreed by the two countries at the 12th Meeting of Myanmar-Laos Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 6 March 2020. 

    Lao PDR and Myanmar aim to create a new cooperation master plan. Tourism could help promote each other’s rich culture and heritage and bring their people together.  

    News

    Car usage is on the rise in Yangon causing much traffic congestion in the city. Photo: ADB

    Improving Connectivity of Myanmar’s Yangon Region along the East-West Economic Corridor

    Plans are underway to connect Yangon in Myanmar with the Bago Region and Mon State through new expressways along the Greater Mekong Subregion’s (GMS) East-West Economic Corridor. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide financing assistance to build more efficient highways that will promote safer movement of goods and people. 

    GMS in the News

    Mekong Institute’s Capacity Building Activities Continue to Expand Knowledge in the GMS

    In 2019, the Mekong Institute conducted 112 capacity building activities that benefitted 3,270 participants from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries in the areas of agricultural commercialization, trade and investment facilitation, and innovation technology and communication. Furthermore, Mekong Institute alumni held 155 trainings and workshops, expanding knowledge sharing to an additional 9,031 beneficiaries across Cambodia, People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    Events

    Border gate between Lao PDR and Viet Nam in Lao Bao (ADB Photo)

    Lao PDR, Viet Nam Plan to Open New International Borders

    Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Viet Nam plan to upgrade two local border crossing points to international border crossings this year. The plan was announced during the 29th annual border meeting of the two neighboring countries on 26 December 2019 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. 

    The Dak Ta-Ok (Lao PDR)–Nam Giang (Viet Nam) between Xekong (Lao PDR) and Quang Nam (Viet Nam) provinces will be the first international crossing point in Xekong. The neighboring countries plan to open this upgraded international border crossing in the first quarter of 2020.

    GMS in the News

    Motorcycle tires being manufactured inside the Camel Rubber Vietnam Co. Ltd factory at the Lao Bao Commercial Area in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri, Viet Nam. The tires produced by the company are sold locally and are also exported to Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand, European and South American countries, as well as to other countries in the ASEAN region. Photo by the Asian Development Bank.

    ADB Promotes Trade and Cross-border Investment between SMEs in the GMS and India

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $3,000,000 technical assistance to support the implementation of initiatives to accelerate trade and cross-border investment between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam—member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) program—and India. This ADB-administered technical assistance is financed by the United Kingdom Fund for Asia Regional Trade and Connectivity under the Regional Cooperation and Integration Financing Partnership Facility.

    Projects

    Myawaddy-Mae Sot border crossing. Photo: Go-Myanmar via Wikimedia, shared under CC BY-SA 3.0

    Myanmar, Thailand Sign MoU to Boost Cross-border Trade

    The Governments of Thailand and Myanmar signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve immigration checkpoint and logistics clearances for cross-border trade in the Mae Sot (Thailand) and Myawaddy (Myanmar) checkpoint. The signing took place at the 23rd Ministerial Conference of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program.

    GMS in the News

    Second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge linking Mae Sot, Thailand with Myawaddy, Myanmar. Photo: Lerdsuwa via Wikimedia, shared under CC BY-SA 3.0

    Second Thailand-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to Stimulate Cross-border Trade

    The Governments of Thailand and Myanmar officially opened the second Thailand-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to traffic on 30 October 2019 in Tak province, Mae Sot district, Thailand. The bridge crosses over the Moei river, and connects the Mae Sot District of Thailand with Myawaddy in Myanmar.   

    GMS in the News