Viet Nam treasures Greater Mekong Sub-region cooperation
19:42 | 08/09/2021

VGP – Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will partake in the 7th Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) Summit at the invitation of Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

The summit will take place in virtual format on September 9 under the theme “GMS: Renewed Strength to Face the Challenges of the New Decade”, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

During the summit, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Chinese premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of Laos Phankham Viphavanh, Chairman of the State Administration Council of Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Prime Minister of Thailand Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Viet Nam Pham Minh Chinh will review the progress of the cooperation since the 6th Summit held on March 31, 2018 in Viet Nam and chart the future activities and direction of the cooperation for the next three years with the support from the Asian Development Bank.

The event will also serve as an opportunity for the leaders to reflect their commitments and contributions to a more integrated, prosperous, sustainable and inclusive sub-region by addressing challenges for economic growth and social development in the subregion, region and beyond.

Viet Nam plays active role in GMS trade, investment cooperation

A unique characteristic of GMS cooperation is that member countries share land borders, which is convenient for land transport connectivity and economic corridor development.

Viet Nam holds key nodes in three GMS economic corridors: the Southern Coastal Corridor (GMS-SCC) which links Thailand to southern Viet Nam via Cambodia; the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) that links Myanmar to Viet Nam via central Thailand and Laos; and the North-South Economic Corridor (NSEC) with sections linking China and Viet Nam. 

By the end of December 2017, roughly US$6 billion had been poured into GMS cooperation projects in Viet Nam, equivalent 30 percent of the total value of GMS loans and financial aid. Of the amount, transport accounted for 87 percent, followed by urban development (7.9 percent), agriculture and natural resources (3.7 percent), healthcare and social welfare (2.7 percent), industry and trade (0.4 percent) and trade facilitation and transport (0.2 percent).

In 2009, Viet Nam commenced the construction of a 264km expressway connecting the capital city of Hanoi and the northern border province of Lao Cai with a total investment of US$1.2 billion sourced from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It was put into operation in September 2014. 

 The expressway, the longest of its kind in Viet Nam, is considered a strategic part of the Kunming (China)-Lao Cai-Ha Noi-Hai Phong road corridor under the GMS cooperation program. The road has significant impacts on the country’s economic efficiency as it helps reduce the travelling time between Ha Noi and Lao Cai from seven hours to three hours.

It is not only important to Viet Nam but also the whole GMS region by changing the economic panoramic of localities in northern Viet Nam and southern China through enhancing transport connectivity, commercial exchanges, investment and tourism cooperation. 

Viet Nam signed the GMS Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (CBTA) in 1999 and has ratified all CBTA annexes, enabling the reduction of time spent at border gates for vehicles, goods and passengers and facilitating trade. Since 2012, Vietnam and China have facilitated each other’s vehicles crossing the shared border on the Kunming-Ha Noi-Hai Phong and Hanoi-Nanning-Shenzhen routes. The same year, Viet Nam, Thailand and Laos signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand roads connecting the capital cities of the three countries with two large sea ports – Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Hai Phong (Viet Nam) on the EWEC.

The mechanism of Single Stop Inspection (SSI) has been carried out at Lao Bao-Dansavanh border gate between Viet Nam and Laos since 2015. The launching of the SSI at the Lao Bao-Dansavanh border gate has helped transform landlocked Laos into a transit hub in the GMS and enabled the provinces of Quang Tri (Viet Nam) and Savannakhet (Laos), to utilize their advantages for economic development. The SSI is being developed at other border gates along the EWEC and NSEC.

Since the 6th GMS Summit, GMS cooperation has been promoted in various fields with important outcomes including building and perfection of GMS economic corridors and infrastructure development with eight connectivity projects worth US$ 2.8 billion, the GMS Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement, program on food security and sustainable agriculture with an expenditure of US$ 3.5 million, and practical projects in commerce, agriculture, tourism, health, environment, and energy./.

By Kim Anh

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