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.

    Top row, left to right: Dr. Danucha Pichayanan, Deputy Secretary General, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (Thailand); Mr. Liu Weihua, Deputy Director General, Department of International Economic and Financial Cooperation, Ministry of Finance (PRC); Mr. Alfredo Perdiguero, Director, SERC, ADB. Middle row: Mr. Than Aung Kyaw, Director General, FERD, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (Myanmar). Bottom row, left to right: Ms. Sisomboun Ounavong, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Planning and Investment (Lao PDR); Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General, Foreign Economic Relations Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment (Viet Nam); and H.E. Mr. Ros Seilava, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance (Cambodia) 

    GMS Senior Officials’ Meeting Reviews COVID-19 Response Initiatives and Prepares for Upcoming Events

    A GMS Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) was held on 11 September 2020 via web-based conferencing to review (i) proposed key GMS strategic planning documents and knowledge products, which includes GMS COVID-19 response initiatives and the new long-term strategy for the GMS program, and (ii) preparations for upcoming GMS events—the 11th Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-11), the 24th GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-24), and the 7th GMS Summit (Summit-7).  

    Events

    Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi makes a keynote address at the virtual Myanmar-Japan Forum via a video clip on 29 July 2020. Photo: MNA via GNLM

    Myanmar Highlights Job Creation Potential of New Special Economic Zone

    The Myanmar Government unveiled plans to develop a bigger and better connected special economic zone (SEZ) located in Mon State at a virtual Myanmar-Japan Investment Dialogue held on 29 July 2020. The strategically located SEZ will connect both the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, and the Thilawa SEZ in Myanmar to Viet Nam’s Da Nang SEZ via the Greater Mekong Subregion’s East-West Economic Corridor. Plans for the new SEZ also include the construction of deep-sea port facilities. 

    GMS in the News

    The Bago-Kyaikto expressway will link to the Yangon-Mandalay highway (in picture). Photo by ALwinDigital (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

    Myanmar Approves Proposed ADB Loan for the Bago–Kyaikto Highway along GMS’ EWEC

    Myanmar’s Union Parliament approved a proposed loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth around $483.8 million to finance construction of the Bago–Kyaikto highway. The Bago–Kyaikto highway lies along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) East–West Economic Corridor (EWEC), which links Myanmar to Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam, and Myanmar’s Thilawa Port in Yangon to Viet Nam’s Danang Port.

    GMS in the News

    Aerial view of trucks and other vehicles crossing the border check point on the Lao side of the Mekong River through the Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge which connects Mukdahan Province in Thailand with Savannakhet in Lao PDR. Photo by ADB.

    ADB Highlights Support for GMS Transport and Economic Corridors in ASEAN Forum

    The ASEAN Forum on Subregional Development discussed measures to link Mekong subregional cooperation programs with the ASEAN and other subregional groupings to achieve the common goal of narrowing development gaps and to build a stronger ASEAN community. The forum tackled solutions to promote coordination and connectivity among economic corridors in the region. Countries and involved parties were enjoined to work together on policies and mechanisms to address border gate issues.  

    GMS in the News

    Areenee Jasiti is a store assistant manager in Thailand where convenience stores have remained open, despite COVID-19. Convenience stores are one of Thailand's lifelines. Photo: UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    $1.5 Billion ADB Loan to Support Thailand's COVID-19 Response

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a $1.5 billion loan to support the Government of Thailand’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

    GMS in the News

    Cambodian migrants arriving by train at Anranya Prathet, Thailand. Photo by Joe Lowry via IOM - UN Migration (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) © IOM 2014

    Photo: Beth Kanter/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

    Cambodia, People’s Republic of China Sign the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Mango Export

    Cambodia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Fresh Mango Export on 9 June 2020. This will allow Cambodia and the PRC to work together on the phytosanitary practices of Cambodia’s mango farms to increase Cambodia’s mango export to the PRC. Cambodia can export up to 500,000 tons of high quality mangoes to the PRC per year, according to the Embassy of the PRC.

    GMS in the News

    ASEAN headquarter in Indonesia. Photo: Gunawan Kartapranata

    ASEAN Economic Ministers Pledge to Boost Supply Chain Connectivity

    The ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting on 4 June adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through the action plan, economic ministers hope to counter the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak by promoting ASEAN markets for essential goods and strengthening economic cooperation among ASEAN countries.  

    News

    Scenes of healthcare workers at Thailand Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute, Ministry of Public Health. Photo: UN Women/ Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Greater Mekong Subregion Senior Officials Convene Meeting on COVID-19 Response

    Senior officials of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) met to discuss responses to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the GMS, focusing on regional approaches to promote recovery and resilience. The meeting was held via videoconferencing on 2 June 2020, with participation from all GMS countries and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  

    Events