“Mekong Institute is glad to co-organize this Business to Government (B2G) dialogue with Khammouane, Nakhon Phanom and Quang Binh in order to facilitate cross-border trade among three provinces. While trade volume in the region is significantly increasing, trade cost of CLMVT countries accounted to 26% compared with 8% in Singapore. Hence, there is a need to reduce this trade cost by increasing effectiveness of trade and customs procedures in order to hasten the flow and lower the cost”. Mekong Institute Executive Director Dr. Watcharas Leelawath emphasized as he addressed about 120 business sector representatives and officers from key government agencies in the B2G meeting last April 10, 2019 in Khammouane, Lao PDR. The one-day meeting was spearheaded by MI’s RLED-EWEC Project supported by SDC and co-hosted with the Khammouane Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Lao PDR), Nakhon Phanom Chamber of Commerce (Thailand), and the Quang Binh Business Association (Vietnam).  

Mr. Bounmy Phimmasone, Vice-Governor of Khammouane Province Lao PDR, also briefly introduced the Khammouane provincial profile, and expressed hopes that the meeting would reach the same agreement and path to increase the flow of crossborder trade facilitation among three countries. He also assured that if there are any issues that need to be addressed at the policy level of countries, these will be with higher level to create the share benefit among three country and strengthen the collaboration among private sectors on business and trading operation.

The meeting forwards the dialogue and discussions in an earlier Business to Business (B2B) meeting between Khammouane and Nakhon Phanom held in January with additional issues collected from business sector in Quang Binh in March this year. Gathering business and government stakeholders together, the B2G meeting expounded on clear steps and resolutions between the two sectors for further strengthening cross-border trade in the three border provinces. Business operators from the provinces presented proposals that intend to address bottlenecks in implementation of trade promotion regulations and laws in the border areas. One of these is the issuance of receipt all times to border service users at Lao border to increase transparency and trust.

Proposals to improve regulations pertaining to trade activities and facilitation were also forwarded, including the suggestion to the provincial governments of Khammouane and Quang Binh to grant common permits to trucks from Lao PDR and Thailand to enter the special economic zone in Quang Binh for loading and unloading of goods. Following the meeting, concerned provincial governments are set to further discuss how to take forward the proposals offered.

They also expressed strong support for crossborder trade to be more consistent to increase trade among three countries and suggested to MI to facilitate the follow up activities with the assigned Foreign Relation Staff of each province.

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