New highways to streamline border crossing
HA NOI (VNS)— The transport of travellers and goods between Thailand, Laos and Viet Nam will take less time when two additional highways are added to a regional agreement to cross-border transportation.
Transport ministers of the three countries agreed in a meeting in Ha Noi yesterday that they would shortly finalise a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which the two highways would be added to Protocol No 1 of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (GMS-CBTA).
GMS-CBTA, first signed by the three countries in 1999 and then later by Cambodia, China and Myanmar, governs common border-related issues including customs and health quarantines. The agreement also calls for the implementation of “one stop” customs procedures to facilitate the flow of vehicles and goods.
Highway No 9 in Lao Bao, linking the central province of Quang Tri and Savanakhet Province in Laos, was the first one to have a single border checkpoint in 2009 as part of the agreement.
At yesterday’s meeting, Vietnamese Minister of Transport Minister Dinh La Thang said that the addition of National Highways No 8 and No 12 to the agreement would help shorten travel time and reduce transportation costs between northeast Thailand and central Laos to Viet Nam’s Vung Ang and Hon La ports.
The three ministers yesterday also signed an amended MoU regarding implementation of the GMS-CBTA along the East-West Economic Corridor through the three countries. The amendments authorise the expansion of areas in which vehicles from the three nations can operate, allowing vehicles to travel to Ha Noi and Hai Phong in Viet Nam, Vientiane in Laos, and Leam Chabang in Thailand.
They also agreed on an action plan to boost tourism. — VNS