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March 2, 2009

Vietnam’s East-West highway opens to trucks from Laos, Thailand

The first 1,500 vehicles of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand have been licensed to run on the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), which is expected to boost trade, investment and tourism activities in the relevant countries, reported a local online news website.

Vietnam NetBridge reported that representatives of the three countries met in the Central Highland resort city of Da Lat on February 25-26 to grant permits to 500 trucks from each country. The permits allow the vehicles to travel on the EWEC, particularly the section linking Vietnam and Laos.

The event will mark Vietnam’s first success in implementing the cross-border land transport facilitation agreement among the six countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), said Nguyen Van Thach, deputy director of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Transport.

The GMS is comprised of Vietnam, China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The EWEC is an especially important corridor as it will create a channel for commodities coming from Thailand and Laos and going to Vietnam’s ports of Da Nang and Vung Ang.

From there, the goods will be exported overseas. In addition, Vietnamese commodities will move to Thailand and Laos on the same channel. The EWEC is the shortest way for Thai goods to enter Vietnam and vice versa.  

The 1,450km long road links the following points: Mawlamyine-Myawaddy in Myanmar, Mae Sot-Phisanulok-Khon Kaen-Kalasin-Mukdahan in Thailand, Savanakhet-Dansavanh in Laos and Lao Bao-Hue-Dong Ha-Da Nang in Vietnam.

It also intersects several north-south arterial routes: Yangon-Dawei, Chiang Mai-Bangkok, Nong Khai-Bangkok, Road 13 in Laos and Highway 1A in Vietnam.

The corridor aims to strengthen economic cooperation and facilitate trade, investment and development between Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam; reduce transport costs and make the movement of goods and passengers more efficient; reduce poverty and support development of rural and border areas; and promote tourism.  

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