Pingxiang (Guangxi), 27 March 2018.
The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group on Agriculture (GMS WGA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food Industry Asia (FIA) organized a “Regional Workshop on “Increasing Market Access and Facilitating Trade in GMS Agrifood Products” in Pingxiang, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China from 26-27 March 2018. Mr. Mo Jian Jun, Deputy Director of the Foreign Funds and Projects Management Center of the Guangxi Department of Agriculture, welcomed the participants.
The GMS comprises of Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. Last September 2017, the GMS Agriculture Ministers endorsed the Strategy for Promoting Safe and Environment-friendly Agro-based Value Chains in the GMS and Siem Reap Action Plan, 2018-2022 (GMS SEAP Strategy).
This workshop is expected to contribute to the implementation of pilot projects relating to market access through improving food safety and quality assurance through improved risk analysis, traceability through barcode-based systems and data sharing between governments and businesses. Participants to this workshop were mainly government representatives from the GMS Ministries of Agriculture, other relevant ministries (Commerce, Health, Quarantine, SPS, etc.) and border and provincial officials from Lang Son, Viet Nam and Guangxi, PRC along with some agribusinesses from the subregion.
It provided an opportunity for the government and private sector representatives to share information on current market requirements, practices and procedures in agrifood trade, especially on the policies, regulations, and protocol requirements from the PRC side. The new iTRADE tool of the Agriculture Information Network Services (AINS) under the GMS Core Agriculture Support Program Phase 2 (GMS CASP2) website was demonstrated at the workshop.
The UNECE provided technical support and shared their expertise on the methodologies and tools on assessing regulatory and procedural measures in trade and facilitated some of the workshop sessions. FIA presented their views on what can promote inter-GMS trade and their role in bolstering trade. The workshop participants discussed the potentials of agri-food trade to and from PRC and GMS and areas that may be improved to faciliate trade. The suggested next steps will be presented at the forthcoming 15th GMS WGA Annual meeting in Pu’er City, Yunnan, PRC for consideration of the GMS WGA.
Dr. Lourdes S. Adriano, Team Leader of the CASP2 WGA Secretariat in Bangkok noted that this workshop is a breakthrough in understanding and addressing institutional capacity gaps and other non-tariff barriers to agrofood trade in the GMS and will contribute to food safety harmonization for trade in SEAP. More of these dialogues will be undertaken in the future especially under the new ADB technical assistance that will support the implementation of the GMS SEAP Strategy.
The Asian Development Bank, the Government of Sweden and the Nordic Development Fund provide resources to the Core Agriculture Support Program Phase II. The Asian Development Bank has been providing regional cooperation assistance to the GMS since 1992.
Yue Ming Shen, National Secretariat Specialist, PRC
ADB Technical Assistance 8163
Core Agriculture Support Program Phase II