Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol on Wednesday called for further collaboration in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) for more attractive investment, trade and tourism in the region.
The appeal was made at the 3rd Greater Mekong Subregion Cross Border Transport Facilitation Agreement Joint Committee Retreat in Phnom Penh.
The event was attended by ministers of transport and other senior officials from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and China, as well as representatives of the Asia Development Bank (ADB) and the Mekong Institute.
“At the 7th Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement [CBTA] Joint Committee Meeting in Siem Reap on March 13 of this year, we [GMS] recognised that the reduction of non-physical barriers to transport and trade is key to boosting trade, tourism and investment.
“As a result, some progress has been made, such as the use of permits and temporary admission documents [TADs] under the MoU of the CBTA Early Harvest Implementation,” Chanthol said.
The CBTA aims to eliminate border inspections within the GMS bloc to reduce the length of time goods take to travel to other markets.
At the 6th Meeting of the Joint Committee for the Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement held last year in Vietnam, GMS leaders reaffirmed an earlier decision to retain an upper limit of 500 permits under Protocol 3 of CBTA to allow for “Early Harvest” implementation. This allowed for a grace period until June 1.
Chanthol said the government was to discuss the Cambodia-Vietnam Bavet-Moc Bai Border Crossing on Thursday and hold a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese officials in Ho Chi Minh City on easing the flow of goods between the two nations.
He added that Cambodian officials planned to work with their Thai counterparts on temporarily making the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Iand crossing 100 per cent operational as officials wait for a permanent border administrative building to be completed.
“Cambodia is strongly committed to the GMS vision of a prosperous, integrated, and harmonious sub-region, and working with other GMS member countries.
“As the world progresses towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we will need to undertake continuous innovation and digitisation to generate fresh approaches to improve the efficiency of the CBTA, in particular,” Chanthol said.
Starting as a trilateral agreement between Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand in 1999, the GMS CBTA, supported by the ADB, was expanded to include Cambodia, China and Myanmar.