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Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam expand east-west economic corridor
Publication Date : 17-05-2013
Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have welcomed the expansion of the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) to boost mutual cooperation.
Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the four nations that form the EWEC noted the importance of the expansion at their second annual meeting held in the Lao central province of Savannakhet from May 15-16.
The corridor now runs from Sabang port in Bangkok, Thailand, through Vientiane and on to Hanoi and Haiphong in Vietnam, a press release from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Lao Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bounkeut Sangsomsak presided over the meeting, which was attended by more than 140 representatives from the relevant sectors.
The meeting also noted that La os and Thailand have agreed to launch a ‘one-stop' inspection system at the border crossing in Savannakhet province with Thailand's Mukdahan province by the end of the year to streamline procedures and facilitate the flow of goods, the press release said.
In addition, Laos and Vietnam agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding on the final stage of implementation of the one-stop service at the Savan-Laobao border crossing. This would take place before the next annual meeting scheduled in Thailand next year.
The participants noted the importance of setting up the Transport Association of the Mekong Sub-region, whose main office will be in Vientiane.
According to the press release, the participants recognised the need to work together to address any difficulties and barriers including repairing damaged roads and improving and streamlining documents and procedures to facilitate goods inspection and other related work.
The meeting also recognised the importance of encouraging countries in the Mekong Sub-region to quickly sign and ratify various documents related to the agreement on cross-border transport within the sub-region. This was necessary to accelerate the process to achieve full and effective implementation.
Meeting participants reviewed the progress made over the year since the last meeting which was held in Vietnam, as well as highlighting unfinished agendas and shortcomings. They also discussed future cooperation plans.
The participants highly valued the important role the corridor is playing in the development of the provinces that lie along it, particularly in infrastructure improvements, facilities construction and the provision of services.
These have been made possible thanks to the valuable assistance of development partners, particularly the government of Japan and the Asian Development Bank.
The meeting adopted two documents – the Savannakhet Declaration on the Process of the East-West Economic Corridor Development and the meeting's Joint Statement on the East-West Economic Corridor Development.
Representatives from the Japanese Embassy to Laos, Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency were present at the meeting.