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GMS Countries Seeking Roadmap for Trade Facilitation
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More than 80 officials, experts and entrepreneurs from China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Asian Development Bank convened in Yunnan Monday discussing the facilitation of trade and investment in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).


They were attending a seminar hosted by the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs under China's Ministry of Commerce and the provincial commerce department of Yunnan.


The seminar was aimed to seek a roadmap for the implementation of a strategic framework on trade and investment facilitation between the six countries after leaders of the countries reached an agreement on such a framework in July last year in Kunming, capital of Yunnan in southwest China.


Topics on the seminar included customs reform, improvement of customs inspection and quarantine management, revision of trade-related laws and regulations, and the improvement of the environment of logistic service.


China hopes to further its cooperation and exchange with the Asian Development Bank and other countries in the sub-region to work out a most favorable scheme for smooth flow of trade and investment between the countries, said Yi Xiaozhun, vice-minister of Commerce.


The trade between China and the other five countries reached about US$32 billion in 2005.


Yi said that trade and investment facilitation is very necessary under the context of the robust trade growth in the region as a result of dropping tariff, gradual removal of non-tariff barriers and development of free trade.


"We hope the blue print of the strategic framework can turn into action, and our wish can come true," Yi said.


He said that China has put forward detailed proposals on the improvement of the application of information technology, the establishment of an information system on international standards, cultivation of a logistic market, and police cooperation between the countries.


The vice minister said that China and Vietnam have agreed to launch a one-stop inspection customs at their border to serve as a model of trade facilitation for the region.


(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2006)


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