Great Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries took a major step forward in Kunming Monday to open their borders by agreeing to implement trade facilitation measures, including single-stop inspection at key border passes.
During the summit of GMS Leaders, Thailand signed separate memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Cambodia and Laos to facilitate cross-border movements starting 2006 at Aranyaprathet-Poipet and Mukdahan-Savannakhet borders respectively.
Cambodia and Vietnam also signed an MOU to start similar arrangements for their border crossing at Bavet-Moc Bai by mid-2006. Implementation of these facilitation measures will complement those already started on June 30 at the Dansavanh-Lao Bao border between Laos and Vietnam, based on an MOU signed last March.
China and Vietnam will sign similar agreement in September, according to Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The borders are along transnational road corridors being upgraded under the GMS program, which ADB has assisted since inception in 1992.
The GMS Cross-border Transport Agreement, which entered into force among the six GMS nations, namely, China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, called for the implementation of cross-border facilitation measures, such as single-stop inspection, exchange of traffic rights, and provision of visas.
The agreement has 20 annexes and protocols, which contain the implementing guidelines. With four to be signed during the summit, and 12 already signed over the past two years, the remaining four are expected to be finalized and signed by the end of this year.
(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2005)