The border gate of the 3rd Thai- Lao Bridge, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. 

The 3rd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge has been officially inaugurated, chaired by Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn, last November 11, 2011 linking Nakhon Phanom and Khammoun Provinces, resulting into more integration in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra also took part in the ceremony. The bridges construction started on May 26, 2009, and was contracted to complete in 900 days, at a cost of Bt 1,723 Million paid by the Thai Government. The Lao government provided land and tax privileges for the import of construction machines and materials. 11-11-11 at 11 am, was the chosen date to officially open what will now become the link connecting Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Southern China, mainly through the Asian Route AH15. The bridges construction was aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two countries, as well as Vietnam, in the fields of economics, culture, trade & investment, resulting to an improved quality of life. In this regard, a one day seminar was organized by the Mekong Institute (MI) on Business Opportunities and Development Potentials of East-West Economic Corridor in Mukdahan on 10 11- 11 with a structured visit to witness the grand opening ceremony of the third Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge the day after. In his keynote address focusing on the ASEAN Economic Community, Mr. Tak Sriratanobhas, (Vice President of Mitr Phol Sugar Corp., Ltd.) said that the aim is to make roads in order to transport goods from any point in the GMS in 1 day, to increase competitiveness. This seminar has enabled regional, national and cross-border networking of decision-makers and executives from relevant partner organisations to be established; knowledge and usage of the EWEC Provincial Business Profile and Trade and Investment database; and increased awareness on business opportunities along Route 8 and Route 12 after the opening of Nakhon Phanom Khammoun Bridge. The delegates to this executive seminar were executives from regional organizations, the relevant government line agencies at national and provincial levels, senior officials/board members of Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCIs) and SME Associations along EWEC and R12. Mr. Chanvit Vasayangkura, Governor of Mukdahan Province, Thailand, welcomes the delegates to the executive seminar, last Nov. 10, 2011.

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