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August 23, 2008

Mekong trade:
ADB pushes for single customs clearance

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting Laos in introducing a single customs clearance service as part of its efforts to facilitate free movement of goods in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), Lao newspaper Vientiane Times reported Friday.

The ADB on Thursday hosted a workshop in Laos to train staff on how to run the service in the country which is scheduled to start at the end of this year along with Vietnam and Thailand. The bank has already held similar workshops in other GMS members, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

The ADB has set a target for all GMS members to implement a single customs service by 2010. The bank, a major donor and loan provider to the members, supports their establishment of customs checkpoints that consist of customs officers and transport officials from all the members so they can check and issue customs clearance bills together to avoid repetitive checking along the roads in the region, the newspaper said.

At present, each country has its own customs checkpoints and has to check every truck going into its territory, slowing down transport of goods across the GMS and contradicting the ambitions of GMS members to promote free movement of goods in the region.

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