Officials attending the 6th meeting of the Joint Committee for the Greater Mekong Sub-region Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement pose for a photo (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Joint Committee for the Greater Mekong Sub-region Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (GMS-CBTA) convened its 6th meeting in Hanoi on March 15, attracting the participation of the six GMS countries.

Vietnamese Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said Vietnam has taken part in a number of bilateral and multilateral cooperation frameworks, including the GMS, which is sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and comprises Vietnam, China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Transport connectivity is a leading priority in the GMS programme, he noted, adding that the GMS Transport Strategy recommends expanding the regional connectivity of hard infrastructure, including roads and railways.

Notably, the GMS countries pledged to implement the GMS-CBTA through applying policies facilitating the cross-border transportation of people and goods, thus fostering economic cooperation and development, The noted.

He added that the countries agreed to turn infrastructure built under their coordination into economic corridors, promoting the exchange of goods, people and vehicles among the member nations, creating jobs, developing tourism and trade and creating connectivity.

At the meeting, GMS ministers discussed the development of transport infrastructure, focusing on promoting connection corridors. They also looked into ways to turn the corridors into economic corridors so as to boost trade and tourism.

[Transport – a highlight of GMS Economic Cooperation Programme]

The officials discussed several key issues, including adding the completed corridors to the list of cross-border transport facilities in Protocol 1 of the GMS-CBTA. National Highway 12 that traverses Cha Lo Border Gate in the central province of Quang Binh and National Highway 8 in neighbouring Ha Tinh province of Vietnam are proposed to be added to the list so as to optimise Vung Ang Port in Ha Tinh and the East-West Economic Corridor, which runs through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. 

They also agreed to connect new cross-border corridors from Vietnam through China to Myanmar.

At the meeting, participants signed an “early harvest” memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the GMS-CBTA.

According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport, the MoU is an order requesting the countries simultaneously carry out the commitments within the GMS framework. They will work out a consistent implementation process of the one-stop-shop model, a process of guaranteeing vehicles that travel across border and a common license for vehicles to enter all member nations via the corridors.

The countries will grant 500 licenses under Protocol 3 of the GMS-CBTA and mutually recognise these licenses. They will also implement the agreement’s regime for temporary imports of motor vehicles, which allows temporary imports to be exempt from import duties and customs guarantees.

The MoU is important as it will create a legal framework for many types of vehicles to transport goods and people across border of the member countries, thus reducing logistics costs.-VNA