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 Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) focus on trade facilitation will modernize customs and establish sanitary and phytosanitary regulations. It will also strengthen links to the private sector. GMS-2030 will support the development of e-commerce platforms in the subregion. By facilitating investment, the strategy will ease or eliminate investment flow constraints and create an integrated investment market. GMS-2030 was endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021. It aims to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade.

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.

    Photo by Kaj17 via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Guangxi Opens Ports for Cross-border Trade

    The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has opened seven highway ports and one railway port for cross-border cargo with normalized customs clearance processes. Statistics from the GZAR’s Department of Commerce reported that 3,344 vehicles entered and exited through Guangxi’s border highway ports during the May Day holiday in 2022. The May Day holiday is one of the peak travel times in the country.   

    GMS in the News

    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