The government of Japan is provides grant assistance worth 123.000 US dollars to fun the “ Project for construction of rural road in Nasadong Village, Saravan  Province ”, under its grant assistance scheme for Grassroots Human Security Project(GGP).

The grant construction for the project was signed on 28 March 2013 at the ministry of public works and transport in Vientiane, between H.E Ms. Junko YOKOTA,  Ambassador of Japan to the Lao PDR and Mr. Somlith OUNECHIT, Director of the office of public work and transport  of Khongxedone district, Saravan Province. The honorable Mr. Sommad PHOLSENA, Minister of Public works and transport, Mr. Siheng HOMSOMBATH, Deputy Governor of Saravan province, Dr. Santisouk SIMMALAVONG, Permanent Secretary of Cabinet office and other officials concerned attended the special signing ceremony.

The construction of road represents a total length of 9 KM and 4.5 meters wide, it will be provide the communities of 6 villages in Khongxedone District with easier and safer passage to the center of the region, a journey that until now been difficult and, during the raining season, increasingly hazardous. The road improvement will also afford villagers greater access to education and medical services as well as market, resulting in significant improvement to their livelihoods.

The Government of Japan regards the improvement of basic infrastructure in local regions as one of the priority area in order to help the Lao PDR to archive its social- economic development goals. To this end, the government of Japan has so far supported 34 projects in the communication and transport sectors, including the construction of 17 rural road, under the GGP.

Liberalization of cross border transport among 3 countries in Mekong region

Cross border transport will be drastically liberalized in Mekong region in which Japanese, American and European companies have been expanding their business. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia concluded an agreement which simplifies custom clearance of trucks and buses. Logistics will be facilitated among Vietnam where parts makers have been expanding their business, Thailand where many makers have been assembling, and Myanmar where foreign investment has been accelerating. International specialization of industry will become easy with Laos, where labor cost is low. Supply chain of product parts may become more efficient that will attract Japanese companies’ investment.

Acceleration of business expansion by Japanese companies

Transport on 22 routes and 15 border crossing points among 3 countries are to be liberalized by the CLV MOU. The MOU will be effective by middle of April 2013. In the beginning, traffic permit is to be given to 450 vehicles (150 vehicles per each country) of trucks, buses and so on. Trucks with the traffic permit can drive among the 3 countries freely.

Although transshipment is needed so far for custom clearance and quarantine at border crossing points, the MOU enables trucks to cross boarder without transshipment. It is also planned to standardize the procedures such as custom clearance form etc. among 3 countries.

Between Vietnam where parts and metal die industry is growing and Thailand where automobile industry is major one, amount of trade is 8.2 billion USD as of 2011, and that has been grown 1.7 times in the past 5 years. In line with the expansion of trade, logistics between Vietnam and Thailand is increasing. Although lead time of ship transport and road transport between Vietnam and Thailand is now 7-10days and 3-4 days respectively, the MOU will shorten the lead time to 2 days.

ASEAN gets going on establishment of logistics infrastructure, in order to meet commencement of ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. Especially Mekong region is “important point for Logistics” in SE Asia. If road transport between Vietnam and Thailand is facilitated, labor-intensive industry will shift to Laos and Cambodia where labor cost is low, and international specialization of parts-manufacturing and assembling industry will be established among Thailand and other countries.

Arterial road construction between Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar is on-going. With the assistance of Thailand etc., road rehabilitation and bridge improvement started, and it is expected that investment to Myanmar will expand by integrated transport network.

Japanese companies have started their business. Yazaki-group established its wire harness factory in Cambodia. The factory processes parts from Thai factory, and supplies them to automobile and motorcycle makers in Thailand. Minebea Co., Ltd, small motor maker, is dividing its assembling work of digital camera parts between factories in Thailand and Cambodia. Panasonic’s factory in Thailand is supplying some common parts of household electrical appliances to its factory in Vietnam. Nippon Express Co. opened its representative office in Yangon of Myanmar last July, and started to study its logistics business. Nippon Express considers establishing its local subsidiary in future. Nisshin, a middle-scale Japanese logistics company established a joint venture with Lao company last February in Vientiane Capital.

Tripartite Transport Minister’’s Meeting

A Tripartite Transport Minister’s Meeting was convened between representatives from Lao, Vietnam and Thailand for the signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding on Cross Border Transportation Facilities   was held on 20 February 2013 at the Sheraton Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam. In the meeting, the Tripartite members discussed road networks extensions and Checking points to provide facilities for cross border transportation, and support to implement one-stop services, which at the present Lao-Vietnam are implementing at the International Checking point of Danhsavane (Lao PDR) and Lao Bao (Vietnam). The meeting  also agreed to have a separate consultation meetings, especially on Tourism Transport Cooperation, and that these meetings would be attended by Tourism sector and involved tripartite staffs. The meeting  also agreed to have regular meetings and exchange hosting, in order to support better cooperation on communication-transportation between the three countries. On

The MoU signed by  the tripartite representatives on this occasion included additional content to scale up the Cross Border Transportation Agreement for the GMS framework signed in 2007 at the tripartite Lao-Thai-Vietnam meeting in Savanakhet province.

The consultation meeting on draft Strategy on Advancement women in MPWT

The Asian Development bank is providing technical assistance to the Government of Lao to facilitate and strengthen the National Strategy for Advancement Women 2011-2015, and implementation within the Sub-Committee for Advancement Women in MPWT. The TA will draft MPWT Strategy for Advancement Women - 2013-2015, formulate a M&E and planning system and manual that has mainstreamed gender. The processes of preparation are data collection, consultation meetings, formulate draft strategy and propose for approval. On 27 February 2013, the consultation meeting on drafting a Strategy for Advancement Women in MPWT was held. The meeting was opened by Vice Minister Mr. Lathhamahni Kounivong and was honored by the presence of Mdm Chansoda Phontip from NCAW who provided an explanation of the NCAW national strategy for gender mainstreaming. The meeting was attended listened to representative from NCAW, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, on the context of the Strategies for Advancement Women and implementation lessons learned. The meeting was also discussed and consulted about the existing situation of advancement women work, issues, needs and next activities to be included in the draft MPWT Strategy for Advancement Women. There were 60 participants in this meeting, with 18 men and 42 women from NCAW, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Sub-CAW and Sub-Sub CAW.

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