Mekong Institute (MI) continued efforts to make the movement of goods and services between Lancang-Mekong countries more efficient at its first e-training course on “Enhancing Trade Competitiveness for Goods and Services: Issues in the Post-Pandemic World.”
“This is an opportune time to find solutions that will help revive businesses, produce better livelihood, and create more jobs for people in the region, “ Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Director of MI’s Trade and Investment Facilitation Department said during the opening session. He added that the success of the e-training rests on the commitment of the 27 officials from government, business associations, academic institutions, and the private sector to “work together towards strengthening cross-border trade to help enterprises recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”
Scheduled from August 3 to 20, 2020, the 12-day training sessions will draw out country-specific recommendations to help Lancang-Mekong member countries transition from post-pandemic recovery to the rebuilding of economies by identifying steps that can boost trade competitiveness and cross border trade, as well as improve infrastructure, facilities, goods, and services. Discussions will also focus on sustainable measures to mitigate the economic impacts of cross-border emergencies and ways forward in widening access to information and communication technologies so governments and business communities can optimize gains against a pandemic landscape.
“This e-training provides a deeper understanding of how to plan and operate trade competitiveness strategies in this new normal,” Dr. Somdeth Bodhisane said at the end of the day’s course. He added that as a representative of the Economic Research Institute for Industry and Trade of Lao PDR’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce, findings from the training will help him and his team develop a stronger policy-based research paper on the management of post-pandemic issues in his country.
Ms. Nwe Nwe Khin, Deputy Director of the Road Transport Administration Department of Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications, described MI’s online activity as innovative because it connected participants from Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam to share experiences, challenges, and best approaches in strengthening trade facilitation in the region. “I am learning about the economic relief plans of our neighboring countries and their respective efforts to ease tariff rules and regulations particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises.”
The e-training is part of the “Upgrading Border Facilitation for Trade and Logistics Development” project implemented by MI in collaboration with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce. With support from the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund, the project promotes trade along border trade zones which link Lancang-Mekong countries, facilitate cross-border trade by increasing the capacity for commerce and reduce costs faced by traders, enhance connectivity, and strengthen competitiveness across international borders through improvements in infrastructure and support of policy and structural reforms.