Under the funding of New Zealand Aid Program (NZAP), Mekong Institute (MI) organized a five-day Structured Learning Visit (SLV) entitled, 'Improving Cross-border Agriculture Value Chains' from 26 May, 2014 at MI's residential training center in Khon Kaen. This SLV aims to enhance participants' understanding about cross-border value chains of agriculture products efficient and simplified cross-border facilitation and procedures for fresh produce as well as recognize the importance of this process.
Fourteen officials from public and private sectors participated in this training. They include provincial authorities, border-check point officials, and various companies' representatives from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
In his welcome speech, Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, MI Director, stressed the importance of cross-border trade for regional trade promotion and economic integration, in anticipation of the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which will come into full forces in 2015. He mentioned that, two years ago, 70% of trade value between Thailand and Cambodia was from cross-border trade. However, infrastructure, cross-border trade procedures and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards are still seen as the main barriers to trade promotion and progress towards regional economic integration.