Mekong Institute’s RLED-EWEC Project continues efforts in advancing cross-border trade in the region with a series of exchange platforms. The most recent one was the Business to Business (B2B) meeting held in Savannakhet Province on June 14, 2019. Spearheaded by Savannakhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Mukdahan Chamber of Commerce (MCC), and Quang Tri Business Association, the B2B gathered representatives and stakeholders from the business sectors in the three border provinces.
The B2B intended to inform participating business operators on the progress of the action plan implementation by the provincial governments following the first Business to Government (B2G) dialogue in Mukdahan last year, and to open the floor for business operators from the three provinces to share pending and emerging issues on cross-border trade activities as well as identify corresponding solutions to address these challenges.
During the meeting, Mr. Atthidlaty Savankham, Vice President of Savannakhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry, co-chaired the meeting and highlighted the need to follow-up the action plan implementation and encouraged participants to openly discuss their ideas on cross-border trade issues and solutions.
The meeting concluded with a consolidation of 12 new trade-related issues, of which four issues were raised by Savannakhet, one from Mukdahan, and seven from Quang Tri Province. Lessons learned from the previous dialogue were also discussed such as the need to shift from conventional proposals to more concrete and evidence-based proposals on improving fee and charge collections and functional operations at the borders. A case in point is the development of a joint research on operational costs of land and maritime transport via the EWEC trade path and nearby competitive routes such as road no. 12. The proposals and strategies drawn from this B2B meeting will be presented to the respective provincial governments in a second B2G dialogue tentatively scheduled in August.