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

  • Kanya Sasradipoera and Taro Sekiguchi
    Public Management, Financial Sector, & Trade Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Dorothea Lazaro
    Public Management, Financial Sector, & Regional Coop Division,
    East Asia Department

Transport Facilitation

    Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

    • Antonio Ressano
      Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
      Southeast Asia Department
    • Alma Canarejo
      Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
      Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

    Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.

    Workers take a ride on a truck after their shift at a factory in Cambodia. Photo by ADB.

    $82 Million ADB Loan to Improve Cambodian Roads, Support GMS Economic Corridors

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an $82 million loan to improve about 48 kilometers of national and provincial roads in Prey Veng and Kandal to boost economic development along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Southern Economic Corridor.

    GMS in the News

    Cross-border Freight Transport between Lao PDR – PRC Launched

    Two trucks were flagged off at the launch of cross-border freight transport between Kunming in Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), on 25 August. The Vientiane-bound truck from PRC carried around 3 million CNY (around $464,000) worth of machinery, equipment, and electronic appliances, while the truck bound for Kunming carried Laotian goods. Both trucks will pass through the Bohan (PRC)-Boten (Lao PDR) border checkpoint.

    GMS in the News

    ADB-supported Event Promotes Cross-border Trade between India and GMS Countries

    Trade promotion agencies of Cambodia, India, Thailand, and Viet Nam held an event promoting cross-border trade connectivity between India and countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) on 19 August. Representatives from each country gave briefings on their business environment and exchanged experiences in facilitating trade and investment cooperation. Noting challenges caused by COVID-19, they urged governments to take measures to help their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) move beyond national borders and expand markets.

    GMS in the News

    Lao PDR’s Se Kong, Viet Nam’s Quang Nam Provinces Jointly Launch the Dakta Ok–Nam Giang Border Gates

    The Governments of Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam inaugurated the Dakta Ok (Se Kong, Lao PDR) – Nam Giang (Quang Nam, Viet Nam) border gates on 14 August 2021, which were upgraded to international status this year. This new international cross-border point is expected to further boost bilateral trade, investment, and tourism, and promote opportunities for cooperation between Viet Nam’s central key economic zone and Lao PDR’s south-central region, as well as Thailand’s southeast region.

    GMS in the News

    Viet Nam Seeks Support from GZAR, PRC, to Facilitate Agri Export

    Mr. Nguyen Hong Dien, Viet Nam’s Minister of Industry and Trade, requested support from Mr. Lu Xinshe, Party Secretary of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (GZAR, PRC), to facilitate cross-border trade between Viet Nam and the PRC by (i) upgrading border gates, (ii) restoring customs services at sealed off border gates, and (iii) extending the operating hours of customs clearance services at border gates, border crossings, and markets.

    GMS in the News

    Thai Durian Association Seeks Linkage between Thailand's Rail Network and the Lao PDR-PRC Railway

    The Thai Durian Association called on the Government of Thailand to ease the bottleneck hindering durian exports to the People's Republic of China (PRC) by linking Thailand's rail network with the Lao PDR-PRC railway. The railway offers a potential route for durian shipments to the PRC, where there is huge demand for the fruit. Mr. Phanusak Saiphanich, chairman of the association, notes there is currently no connection between the Thai rail network and the Lao PDR-PRC railway.

    GMS in the News

    Meeting photo via Viet Nam Plus

    Second Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting Underscores U.S. Commitment to the Subregion

    The second Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting held on 2 August 2021 unveiled four flagship projects under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership, and noted the 8.5 million vaccine doses and over $58 million in U.S. COVID-19 assistance to the Mekong subregion countries.

    GMS in the News

    Aerial photo of the Nanpeng Highway Bonded Logistics Center in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality via Xinhua

    Significant Growth for Cross-border Highway Freight Service in Chongqing, PRC

    Cross-border highway freight service in Chongqing, People's Republic of China, grew significantly in the first half of 2021. Data from Chongqing Highway Logistics Base showed that 1,666 trucks transported goods worth about 997 million yuan ($154 million), up 70% and 107% year on year, respectively, from January to June. Chongqing launched its cross-border highway freight service in 2016. This year, it started new highway cross-border freight routes linking the inland city with Vientiane, Lao PDR. The service presently operates nine routes linked to ASEAN countries and Central Asia.

    GMS in the News