While tightened control by Viet Nam and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in response to the COVID-19 epidemic may have slowed down customs procedures and trade, the two countries continue to work on easing import/export at the border through cooperation and discussions.
Cambodia and Viet Nam will continue to work together to ensure bilateral trade continues amidst border control measures implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the two countries have enforced stricter travel restrictions to tourists passing through their borders, Cambodia and Viet Nam remain open to the exchange of goods.
In a blog post, Mr. Arjun Goswami of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) emphasizes the importance of regional cooperation to more effectively address the transnational threat and mutual risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Steven Beck of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) wrote in a blog post that “the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need to support trade to not only move medical supplies but also to bolster economies.” His post asked (i) how we can maintain trade flows at a time when everyone’s attention seems to be focused on tightening borders, and (ii) how we can keep goods moving when the financial systems that companies rely on are under stress.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.