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Mon, 07/04/2011 - 07:32
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Economic Corridors progress indicates GMS success

VIENTIANE,JULY(KPL)- Progress in developing the economic corridors will nstitute a key indicator of the success of the GMS Economic Cooperation Programme, said a GMS minister.
Ministers and senior officials from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam together with the representative from the private sector and development partners met in Vientiane last week to discuss how to further sustain and strengthen the development of the economic corridors in the region.
Themed “Strengthening Pathways for Sustained Progress in the GMS” the forum was hosted by the Government of Lao PDR and organised by ADB to chart future action in infrastructure, logistics, transport and trade facilitation, agriculture, industry, and tourism in the economic corridors.
The Ministers agreed on actions on specific issues common to the three corridors namely impediments and measures to enhance logistics development and cross-border economic links and the lack of operational connection along certain routes and border crossing facilities.
The forum also considered proposed monitoring systems for transport and trade facilitation along the corridors and ways to enhance multi-sector coordination.
GMS nations are realizing the economic integration in the region through implementing the North-Southern Economic Corridor, the East-West Economic Corridor, and the Southern Economic Corridor.
Also raised at the meeting were how to enhance support and advance the strategies and action plans devised for the regional economic mechanisms EWEC, NSEC and SEC, according to Minister of the Government’s Office of Lao PDR and GMS Minister for Laos, Mrs. Khempheng Pholsena.
Mrs. Pholsena to the meeting that under the GMS framework, Mekong countries have agreed to create economic corridors linking various parts of the subregion to major markets with certain places serving as centers for production, trade and enterprise development and these corridors extend the benefits of improved transport links to remote and landlocked parts of the GMS with more prosperous and better located neighboring areas.
“The GMS corridors not only have potential to serve as models for other regional cooperation initiatives elsewhere; they are also already emerging as building blocks of regional connectivity and integration in Southeast Asia, ” said Mrs. Khempheng.
All three corridors have common priorities of strengthening physical infrastructure, streamlining cross-border transactions and transportation costs, improving the business environment, addressing social and environmental concerns, and improving coordination between public and private sectors, central and local officials and among government agencies.
“It is necessary to ensure that GMS economic corridor development is balanced and sustainable with the less developed areas along the corridors receiving commensurate social and economic benefits. Through this we hope to see the evolution of “green” and not “brown” economic corridors. Growth of green and competitive cities along the economic corridors will be at the heart of this development,” she added.
At the meeting GMS Ministers asked ADB to support the countries with the develop master plans for corridor development, organize symposia and working groups for cooperation as well as provide technical assistance for feasibility and engineering studies and identify regulatory arrangements and private-public partnership.
ADB was also asked to mobilize funds through direct coordination with development partners and private sector.
GMS Ministers acknowledged the need to harmonize transport and trade facilitation formalities in the context of cross-border transport agreement implementation.