Hanoi, March 18, 2018
Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries have reached an agreement on the implementation of a cross-border transport facilitation agreement (CBTA).
Transport ministers from six GMS countries comprising Việt Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, as well as Thailand and China, on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the “Early Harvest” Implementation of the CBTA.
This will allow the effective launch of GMS road transport permits and temporary admission documents for commercial vehicles, starting on June 1.
The news was released at the sixth meeting of the joint committee for the CBTA, co-hosted by the Ministry of Transport of Việt Nam and the Asia Development Bank (ADB), which concluded in Hà Nội on Thursday.
“The signing of this MoU is very important, contributing to facilitating the travel of people and enterprises in GMS countries and contributing to the development of trade between countries,” said Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể.
“Việt Nam is committed to creating the most favourable conditions, from the completion of internal procedures such as amendments and supplements to legal documents to facilitating international transport. We also organise communication for people and businesses to understand the progress and efficiency of the cross-border transport connection,” he said.
In particular, efforts would be made to adopt the “one-stop-shop” model at the border gates, which is quick and convenient not only for Vietnamese enterprises but also for the enterprises of other countries, the minister said.
With the support of the ADB as well as the efforts of each country, the transportation infrastructure has improved, essentially meeting the demand for the socio-economic development of GMS countries, according to the minister.
The Early Harvest Implementation of the CBTA includes simplified procedures, such as simplified, standardized, temporary admission documents for vehicles; the waiver of guarantees for vehicles and containers; and the waiver of temporary admission documents for containers.
The Early Harvest will be subjected to annual review by the joint committee, the statement says.
Contracting parties may start issuing GMS road transport permits and temporary admission documents to licensed international transport operators in their country with immediate effect. However, the actual movement of vehicles will commence on June 1.
Myanmar will join the Early Harvest CBTA implementation with neigbouring countries during a grace period that will last until June 1, 2020.
The GMS countries recognised that the reduction of non-physical barriers to transport and trade is key to increasing the benefits of improved connectivity in and between their countries; boosting trade, tourism, and investment; and increasing competitiveness through cutting costs and improving living standards throughout the GMS.
They agreed to continue to work towards the common goals of transforming transport corridors into economic corridors and aligning their transport and trade facilitation efforts with the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2015 and investment needs identified in the GMS regional investment framework.
Starting as a trilateral agreement among Việt Nam, Laos, and Thailand in 1999, the agreement, supported by the ADB, was then expanded with the participation of Cambodia, China and Myanmar. The full implementation of GMS-CBTA is expected by 2019.