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Greater Mekong Subregion restarts cross-border road transport with trial run

By Luo Wangshu in Beijing and Li Yingqing in Kunming | | Updated: 2024-06-23 19:37
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Cross-border road transportation in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) has resumed with a trial operation launched in Southwestern China on Saturday. This initiative aims to streamline movement of people and goods, boosting regional connectivity.

A convoy of five trucks and two passenger vehicles departed Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, embarking on a 2,500-kilometer journey south through Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia, culminating in Phnom Penh. The week-long trial run marks the first cross-border transport under the GMS Cross-Border Transport Agreement (CBTA) since its temporary suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This operation fulfills agreements reached at the December 2023 meeting of the GMS CBTA Joint Committee. The CBTA, a cornerstone program of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program, aims to facilitate trade and transport across the region.

Significantly, this trial represents the longest route yet attempted under the CBTA's early agreements. Its successful completion paves the way for full operation along all 11 routes outlined in those agreements. Vehicles with proper permits and documentation can now engage in cross-border transportation on these designated paths.

Representatives from transportation, foreign affairs, immigration, and customs departments from each participating country are embedded within the convoy to ensure smooth passage. They will assess infrastructure, explore potential new routes and transit points, and discuss ways to enhance regional connectivity and streamline movement of goods and people.

Following the trial, participating nations will analyze CBTA implementation, identify and address challenges to regional transport facilitation, and explore expanding the CBTA route network to further normalize international road transport within the GMS.

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