Greater Mekong Subregion Cross-Border Transport Agreement - GMS CBTA


The CBTA is a single comprehensive legal instrument that includes all of the non-physical measures for cross-border land transport. Under the CBTA, vehicles, drivers, goods and passengers will be allowed to cross national borders through the GMS road transport system.

The Agreement promotes the elimination of intermediary stops or trans-shipment, as well as promoting the reduction in the amount of time spent in crossing borders (link to the CBTA Main Agreement). Increasing the number of border checkpoints that are implementing the CBTA will help maximize the effectiveness of the GMS transport networks. The CBTA complements the existing physical infrastructure of the GMS countries.

Designed in three tiers or components, the CBTA is flexible and highly adaptable to changing needs. The first tier is the main agreement, which contains the core principles of the system. Click here for the CBTA.

The second tier is made up of Annexes that outline the technical details and Protocols that have time and site-related variables. Currently there are 16 Annexes and three Protocols. Click here for Annex I and Annex II. Protocol 1 is the List of Corridors, Routes and Border Crossings, and Associated Map.

The third tier contains bilateral and trilateral Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and detailed implementation arrangements. This structure allows the Annexes and Protocols to be amended so that they can accommodate the expansion of scope and new transport developments.

All six GMS countries have fully ratified the CBTA main agreement:

  • Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam – 1999
  • Cambodia – 2001
  • PRC – 2002
  • Myanmar – 2003


Four countries have fully ratified the Annexes and Protocols. The remaining two countries are in the process of ratifying the Annexes and Protocols.

Provisions of the CBTA include the following.

 Institutional Arrangements

To monitor the CBTA, committees have been set up at different levels of government.

At the national level, each country will have a National Transport Facilitation Committee (NTFC), which consists of 10 or more national ministries or agencies. A minister or vice-minister will serve as the NTFC chairperson.

At subregional level, there will be a Joint Committee of the GMS Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement. The Joint Committee will be made up of six heads or chairpersons of the NTFCs and the ADB serves as its Secretariat.


GMS Road Transport Permit System and Customs Transit and Temporary Admission System

Both the GMS Road Transport Permit, which is a subregional traffic rights system, and the GMS Customs Transit and Temporary Admission System (CTS), which is a subregional customs guaranteeing system, have been piloted in the East West Economic Corridor (EWEC).


GMS Transport Permits

Transport Operators are licensed for cross-border transport operations by their Home Country according to criteria in Annex 9 of the CBTA. This license cannot be sold or transferred by the Transport Operator to which it was issued. Host Countries will recognize the operating license issued by the Home Countries.

Properly licensed Transport Operators are entitled to undertake cross-border transport operations under the CBTA. Host Countries will allow Transport Operators engaged in cross-border transport to establish representative offices to help facilitate their traffic operations.

Transport operation authorization has two steps.

  1. Protocol 3 will designate which vehicles will be operated in accordance with the Agreement, as well as the transport frequency and time frame to implement this step. The National Transport Facilitation Committee of each Contracting Party will exchange and issue the agreed number of permits each year.
  2. The frequency and capacity of the transport operations under the Agreement will not be subject to any restriction other than that contained in the Agreement.

The conditions of transport will conform to the rules set out in Annex 10. Prices for cross-border transport will not be set and will be determined by market forces. However, prices will be subject to antitrust restrictions and supervision of the Joint Committee to avoid excessively high or low pricing.