Vietnam is seeking to develop transit trade with Myanmar through the East-West Economic Corridor Highway covered by the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)- Economic Cooperation Program, according to local media report Tuesday.
A Vietnamese trade delegation recently paid a visit to Myanmar's border town of Myawaddy linking Thailand to study trade and investment there as part of its trip to four countries along the East-West Economic Corridor Highway, said the Weekly Eleven News.
The four GMS countries lying on the East-West corridor highway are Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
In fact, the senior-official-level Vietnamese border trade delegation were collecting data of border trade status as well as studying taxation with such trade in the GMS countries lying on the corridor highway for discussions with the respective countries on economic and trade cooperation, the report said.
The East-West economic corridor under the GMS program, links the South China Sea to the Bay of Bengal, that is from Vietnam's Danang Port in the East to Myanmar's Mawlamyine in the West.
Mawlamyine-Danang land route will take only 1,000 km whereas the sea route which passes through the Malacca Straits takes 4,000 km, experts said.
The deep seaport project at Mawlamyine in Myanmar's southern Mon state, which will contribute to the development of the East- West corridor in terms of regional cross-border transportation and trade, has been underway.
On completion of the project, Myanmar will become a key seaport in the GMS region and will benefit from being lying in the corridor.
The development of the East-West economic corridor constitutes part of the strategic program for the current decade starting 2002 of the six GMS countries -- China, Cambodia. Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
The GMS economic cooperation program was initiated by the Asian Development Bank in 1992.
Meanwhile, the Asian highway sections also play an important role in connecting the East-West Economic Corridor Highway.
Connecting Thailand's Maesot, the Asian highway Myanmar section stretches as Myawaddy-Thingan Nyinaung-Kawkareik-Mawlamyine with a total length of about 1,400 kilometers. Of the Myanmar section, the construction of 18-km Myawaddy-Thingan Nyinaung section has been completed and that of the 40-km Thingan Nyinaung-Kawkareik section is to be continued by Thailand, other local reports said.
Once the remaining 1,360-km section from Kawkareik to Mawlamyine, where a planned deep-sea port locates, is further built, it will provide a link to Europe through Asia's China, India and Thailand.
The Asian highway was planned according to an inter- governmental agreement endorsed in Shanghai, China, in April 2004 between 26 out of 32 member countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
The Asian highway constitutes a network of 140,000 km of roads criss-crossing the continent and linking up to Europe. The network, which will signify promotion of regional integration and cooperation, is expected to be completed by 2010.
The highway plan was initiated by ESCAP in 1959.