The project Regional and Local Economic Development – East West Economic Corridor (RLED-EWEC) of Mekong Institute (MI) is facilitating a policy dialogue on cross-border trade facilitation between Quang Tri province of Vietnam and Savannakhet province of Lao PDR. The dialogue will take place in Sepon district, Savannakhet province on October 28, 2016. The dialogue is mainly based on findings and recommendations from a cross-border trade research of agricultural commodities at the border crossing of Lao Bao and Dansavan, which was conducted by MI in 2015, as well as the need for changes from both dialoguing parties. 

The overall objective is to improve the regulatory environment that facilitates cross-border trade and enhances the trade flow at the border crossing of Lao Bao and Dansavan. The regulatory environment refers to supportive policies and regulations relating to cross-border trade facilitation, intra-coordination among relevant agencies of one province, inter-coordination between agencies and their counterparts in the border-sharing country, facilitation of cooperation in production, and processing and trading in the border areas. 

Expected results from the policy dialogue are: 

activities to be implemented for cross-border trade facilitation by each party;
joint activities to be implemented for cross-border trade facilitation by two parties;
an action plan signed by leaders of two dialoguing parties that captures both commitments and joint activities by the two parties with clear information of what, how, by whom and a projected timeline (see annex 1 for sample format of action plan).
a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with inputs of the policy dialogue results to be ready for signing by two provincial authority leaders (expected to be within 30 days of completion of the dialogue).
Each dialoguing party has prepared contents for the dialogue with inputs and discussions among relevant agencies and shared with its counterparts prior to the dialogue. The contents accurately reflect the implementation on the ground in the Vietnam – Lao PDR Border Trade Agreement signed by two Governments in 2015 and the facilitation of cross-border trade in terms of supportive policies and regulations and effective coordination mechanisms between relevant agencies at the border. 

MI takes the role of the policy dialogue facilitator and the catalyst to ensure fairness and openness, honesty and sincerity in the dialogue and achievement of the expected results. MI also provides technical assistance and follow-up support to both dialoguing parties in their implementation of the action plan and commitments, as well as the conducting the next dialogues in an open-ended dialogue process between two provinces.

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