Mekong Institute (MI) successfully conducted the regional consultation on “Enabling Regulatory Environment for Facilitating Cross-Border Trade (CBT) on East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC)” in Bangkok, Thailand on May 29, 2017. The regional consultation is an integral part of the designed consultation process under the framework of the Regional and Local Economic Development Project on “Capacity Development for a More Inclusive and Equitable Growth, Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)” in six border provinces along the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) of the GMS. This is funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
A total of 29 participants attended the regional consultation including representatives from the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Industry and Trade (MoIT), Finance (MoF), Agriculture, Transport, The Customs Brokers and Transportation Association, Federation of Thai Industries, Committee for the Economic Quadrangle 10 Chamber of Commerce, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Asian Development Bank and United Nations ESCAP.
The regional consultation aimed to have the consultative results at the national level be further reviewed. In addition, it intended to prioritize action programs and solutions agreed by the four countries respectively. To this end, the consultation addressed and reflected the relevant factors of the regulatory environment, including achievements obtained as well as challenges encountered on the cross-border trade between the project provinces and along the EWEC.
In particular, the consultation looked into the following:
- Action program(s) to further strengthen trade facilitation between Vietnam and Lao PDR to further strengthen the development of SSI/SWI mechanism at Lao Bao – Dansavanh;
- Implementation of the bilateral cross-border trade agreement and policy dialogue mechanism between Vietnam and Lao PDR;
- Cross-border trade and trade facilitation between Myanmar and Thailand, and Lao PDR and Thailand;
- Connectivity between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV);
- Importance of agriculture in the development of the GMS economic corridors;
- Implementation of SPS measures and issues facing small-scale of agricultural cross-border trade;
- Institutional reform through enhancing the public and private sector partnership for better facilitation of cross-border trade in the GMS in consideration of improving coordination mechanism under the private sector development initiatives (e.g. GMS Business Council, ACMECS, etc.); and
- Build a network among business associations, initiate capacity development programs, promote cross-border investment and strengthen the enforcement mechanism of the agreements and regulations towards promotion of cross-border trade in the GMS region.
Upon completion of the regional consultation process, MI will provide the consultation report and policy brief proposing policy adjustment. These will support the cross-border trade along the East-West Economic Corridor and the GMS. This initiative will particularly provide assistance to the Ministries in charge of cross-border trade and trade facilitation as well as concerned agencies and stakeholders. In addition, MI will continue facilitating the policy dialogue processes with a focus on the dialogues between the twin provinces under the project framework.