With support from the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Mekong Institute (MI) has successfully conducted a two-week Regional Training on "Enhancing Cross-Border Trade Facilitation toward AEC 2015" from March 14 – 25, 2016. The training aimed to foster capacity development and to develop better understanding of challenges and issues on cross-border trade and management.
Twenty-three participants attended the training, representing the public and private sector from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam (CLMTV). The participants included officials of the Government Ministries: Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Finance, Department of Customs and Excise, Office of Permanent Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment, Provincial Offices; and staff and members of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Academic Institutions, and businesses in the logistics sector.
Attending the training program, the participants gained knowledge and skills delivered and shared by in-house resource persons and external experts covering principal issues on challenges and opportunities of cross-border trade facilitation and SME development. The training also covered topics on Cross-Border Transport Agreement (CBTA), Trade Liberalization under WTO, Agreement on Trade–Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, Non Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) and food security measures. A structured learning visit was organized to interact with the customs officials at Mukdahan (Thailand and Laos border) and Central Laboratory of Thailand for agricultural crops quality inspection and other products for export.
As part of the training program, the participants developed the country-wide Action Plans (AP) for transferring their gained knowledge and experience to related beneficiaries and stakeholders in the CLMTV countries through (i) workshop cum business matching and SLV, and (ii) research on cross-border trade procedures under GMS framework. The APs are scheduled for implementation during April – June 2016. The participants will return to MI to reflect and share experiences and lesson learnt from their action plan implementations at the Synthesis and Evaluation Workshop in July 2016.