Trade and Investment Facilitation

Mekong Institute (MI) and the Greater Mekong Subregion-Freight Transport Association (GMS-FRETA) formalized their partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding last February 28, 2020 at the MI Headquarters in Khon Kaen, Thailand. The collaboration will promote economic cooperation by joining their respective expertise to support GMS countries through projects that will foster inclusive and sustainable development in the region  

“For an undertaking such as this, it is important to have the right partner,” Mr. Chalat Wongsanguan, GMS-FRETA Chairman underscored MI and his organization’s longstanding relationship in enhancing cross-border trade connectivity so people in the GMS can equitably access opportunities, markets, and supply-chains.

Under the GMS Business Council Cooperation Framework, GMS-FRETA is a region-wide coalition of carriers, freight carrier companies, freight forwarders, logistics associations, and individual companies. Since 2011, it has facilitated cross border trade agreements by creating and promoting agreements in trading and logistics industry development, especially along the GMS routes.

Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, MI Executive Director, stated that the partnership will help MI scale up its technical assistance to support sustainable economic development in the region, as the “strength of one economy depends on its connectivity with others.”

MI has been an active supporter of border management modernization since 2014. With assistance from the Government of the Republic of Korea, MI has strengthened the capacities of government, business, and private sector representatives from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand to improve logistics service deliveries. It has also tapped customs and border management specialists to provide technical guidance and knowledge products to GMS governments and business associations through MI workshops, trainings, structured learning visits, and business forums.

“The GMS Logistics Business Database helps transport and logistics service providers to maximize opportunities as the web portal presents their companies’ services online for business development and network expansion. This is part of MI’s ongoing work to build a comprehensive business information source in the region,” Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, MI Director of Trade and Investment and Facilitation, explained during the ceremony.

He added that under the technical management of GMS-FRETA, MI’s database will be expanded into a more dynamic logistics process knowledge-based system. Currently, the database has over 1,000 companies registered across the GMS.

The database is one of many areas of cooperation between MI and GMS-FRETA. The development of a Green Logistics Auditor software is also forthcoming to reduce carbon footprints in the transport and logistics sector to help establish environmental and economic balance in the region.

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