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Other Meetings Proceedings - 2

14 to 15 August 2013



Second Working Group Meeting of Transport Associations

on Transport Facilitation in the

Greater Mekong Subregion

August 14-15 2013

,Pingxiang, Guangxi, PRC


Summary of Proceedings

I. Introduction

1. The Second Working Group Meeting of Transport Associations on Transport Facilitation was held on 14-15 August 2013 in Pingxiang, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China. The meeting was attendedby around twenty (20) private sector representatives from Greater Mekong Subregion transport associations and participants from academic and research institutions. The meeting was chaired and facilitated by Mr. Yushu Feng, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and co-organized by the China Road Transport Association (CRTA). The meeting program is provided as Appendix 1 and the list of participants as Appendix 2.

2. The objective of the Second Working Group Meeting of Transport Associations on Transport Facilitation in the GMS on 14-15 August in Pingxiang, Guangxi, PRC is to consult the private sector about exploring the potentials of accelerating the establishment of a customs transit system and measuring its impact and benefits in the GMS in light of recent developments on the: 1) expansion of the East West Economic corridor to key GMS cities and deep sea ports, 2) and the increased capacity(hardware and software) for transport facilitation in the Kunming-Bangkok route.


II. Opening Remarks

3. Madame Wang Limei, Secretary General, China Road Transport Association, welcomed the participants and thanked them for their time and effort in coming to meeting. She noted that the GMS Cross-Border Transport Agreement (CBTA) is not yet fully implemented although it has been signed sometime ago. Thus, she expressed her hope that ADB along with the other key players can play a stronger coordinative role in implementing the CBTA. She thanked ADB for its fruitful work and long term efforts in facilitating transport in the GMS. She also underscored that it will be very beneficial for the subregion to establish an efficient and implementable customs transit system as soon as possible.She also encouraged free and open communications amongst the delegates in expressing their viewpoints on the future directions for establishing transport facilitation mechanisms in the GMS.

4. Mr. Yushu Feng, Principal Economist (Regional Cooperation), Asian Development Bank (ADB), in his opening statement remarked that recent positive developments on the expansion and increased capacity of the corridors, upgrading of logistics and border facilities, as well as the increased demand and trade flows in the GMS make it very timely to look into the operational and institutional issues of transport facilitation mechanisms especially on establishing an operational customs transit system.Two recent positive developments in the GMS provide a good reason to revisit the issue of customs transit. These are: (i) the recent signing of the MOU on the expansion of the EWEC to GMS capitals(Bangkok, Hanoi, and Vientiane) and deep sea ports (Laem Chabang and Haiphong), in February 2013 in the EWEC, and (ii) the completion of the Chiang Khong-Houayxay Bridge connecting Thailand, and Lao in late 2013, which would increase the capacity of the Kunming-Bangkok highway 2 and the smooth flow of traffic between the countries. These two developments has renewed the urgency of establishing a customs transit system since with the involvement of a third country,customs transit becomes very crucial, since the existing bilateral agreements will not be enough to address future commercial demands. He noted the importance of the meeting since the collective views from the private sector on how to handle customs transit is important to move forward and provide recommendations in the upcoming GMS National Transport Facilitation Committee (NTFC)Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in 4-5 September 2013 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

5. Mr. Yushu Feng, ADB also introduced and presented a video on transport facilitation entitled Knocking Down Borders: Facilitating Transport in the GMS, which provides a short montage on: (i) the key aspects of the transport facilitation; (ii) recent achievements in CBTA implementation at key border crossing points and (iv) challenges in facilitating transport in the GMS.


III. Presentations and Discussions

6. The six GMS Transport Associations gave their brief statements and presented their views on the status of transport facilitation initiatives, opinions on transport facilitation needs, requirements,constraints and challenges, and suggestions on ADB involvement, as summarized below:

(i) China Road Transport Association (CRTA)

(ii) Lao International Freight Forwarders Association (LIFFA)

(iii) Board of Trade (BoT)

(iv) Viet Nam Automobile Transport Association (VATA)

(v) Cambodian Freight Forwarder Association (CAMFFA)

CAMFFA recommends ADB to provide:

(vi) Myanmar International Freight Forwarders Association (MIFFA)

7. Pilot Implementation of the GMS Customs Transit System along the East West Economic Corridor. Mr. Yushu Feng, ADB provided a short briefing on the status of the Pilot Implementation of the GMS Customs Transit System along the East West Economic Corridor in terms of what has been done, constraints, bottlenecks and challenges to its implementation. Key clarifications and discussion issues include the following:

8. North South Economic Corridor (NSEC)/Kunming Bangkok Route (Perspective of PRC,Lao PDR, and Thailand). Resource persons from academic and research institutions in the GMS presented case studies on the North South Economic Corridor (NSEC)/Kunming Bangkok Route in terms of the Potentials and Challenges to Implementing Transport Facilitation Measures and Customs Transit Systems. The salient points of their presentations are summarized below:

(i) Professor Bi Shihong, GMS Study Center, Yunnan University,

(ii) Assistant Professor Poon Thiengburanatham, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

(iii) Mr. Syviengxay Oraboune, Deputy Director-General/Senior Researcher at the National Economic Research Institute,

9. The participants raised the following issues during the open discussion:

10. The delegations discussed the merits of three options/course of action for accelerating the facilitation of customs transit initiatives in the GMS, namely:

(i) Option A: CTS is feasible -- continue to implement initiatives on GMS CTS with some improvements

(ii) Option B: CTS is not feasible - major redesign of CTS needed

(iii) Option C: Alternative system needed, such as__________ (identify system) 

The transport association’s comments and views are:

(i) CAMFFA: In terms of CTS implementation, there is a need to have an automated system eventually, but if there is no choice, in order to move forward, paperwork is okay for the meantime. There might be reluctance amongst the key players because of the unknowns, etc.,which can be solved through: (a) the investment by guarantee organizations in a joint GPS system so the transit are secured (b) strong tri-lateral communications between guarantee organizations (joint border office) (c) the provision of ADB operations manuals and standard documents for the guarantee system. Having a legal framework signed would be a first step,and for Cambodia to be involved in the CTS along the SEC, three countries (Cambodia,Thailand, and Viet Nam) need to sign an MOU on the exchange of traffic rights first

.(ii) CRTA: Fully support the CTS systems since they are of the view that CTS is the most suitable for all the GMS countries since it has been designed by the GMS countries and and discussed so many times during various meetings and forums (the Customs departments of other countries has understood fully the framework of CTS). Even if the amount of transport through the CBTA is very low at present, they think that with mutual endeavors, the amount will increase and the implementation of CTS and CBTA will be a good example for other regions.Suggestions for improving the CTS include:

(iii) LIFFA: As an association is split (some in favor and some are not). The shipping company members are not in favor of the CTS (partly because they may benefit from guaranteeing cargo trucks). However, with the volume of traffic increasing, we can no longer wait for the slow processing of the cross-border system, and an automated CTS system is needed in addition to an insurance system to clearly identify which party is responsible for damages.

(iv) MIFFA: The private sector would prefer to go with Option A- CTS is feasible, but continue to initiate CTS with some improvements. MIFFA will report the meeting findings to the Myanmar NTFC and Customs. Myanmar is flexible and ready to implement as soon as possible,especially since its single window system has not started yet.

(v) BOT: CTS is good so far, but based on discussions with Thai transport operators, obstacles on the design of the route. BOT would like to request ADB to talk with Customs to allow trucks to go to distribution centers, 5-10 Km beyond the main route). Some practical suggestions on how to improve its operations are as follows:

(vii) VATA: Fully supports the CTS, but they have a concern on the guarantee amount, which is quite high. Thus, they would like to request to lower the guarantee amount.


I. Collective Opinion/ Findings of the Meeting

11. Based on the reports, presentations, and the comments by the experts, the Meeting concluded that it would be beneficial for the GMS countries to pursue previous efforts in establishing the pilot GMS Customs Transit System with some improvements. As was observed,the pilot implementation of the CTS is far from being ideal (and its deficiencies have been duly noted),but it is tailor fitted to the realities of the GMS countries, whose framework is deemed acceptable bythe relevant GMS agencies. The private sector transport operators agree that there is a need to implement a customs transit system as soon as possible, considering that establishing a similarASEAN CTS system might take a longer time. Specific findings of the Meeting were as follows:

(i) There is a need to propose to establish a Subcommitttee of Issuing/Guaranteeing/Organizations/Institutions under the Joint Committee Meeting of the GMS CBTA (TOR will be circulated and approved after the meeting). Having this proposed new Subcommittee will enable close coordination between Guaranteeing organizations and relevant government agencies (5 countries agree and BOT will provide their response in a week).

(ii) There is a need to improve the pilot implementation processes of the CTS.

(iii) Benefits of the CTS must be clearly identified, measured, and quantified, in order to achieve buy-in from the stakeholders and end-users.

(iv) Need for legal agreement for Southern Economic Corridor for traffic rights exchange.

12. During the meeting, the participants (i) shared knowledge and expertise from ongoing and planned transport facilitation initiatives in the EWEC and NSEC, (ii) provided collective views and inputs on the feasibility of proposed transport facilitation initiatives (i.e. establishing a customs transit facilitation systems in the EWEC), and (iii) collectively agreed on a course of action/next steps for accelerating the facilitation of transport facilitation initiatives in the GMS.

13. The Meeting agreed to assign Capt. Aung Khin Myint to represent the Meeting to attend the NTFCSOM and report the meeting findings to the Senior Officials (transport, customs, immigration,quarantine) and to voice out the Guarantee organization’s requests for support for transport and trade facilitation.


IV. Adoption of the Summary of Proceedings

16. The Meeting adopted the Summary of Proceedings on 15 August 2013 in Pingxiang, Guangxi,PRC.


V. Acknowledgements

17. The delegates expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation to ADB and CRTA fo rorganizing and facilitating the Meeting.


File Name Size Last Modified
Statement of the Second Joint Committee.pdf 27 KB 12-11-2013