New customs checks planned for Savan-Mukdahan border crossing

Date: 15, Apr, 2016   Time: 9:25 am

Laos and Thailand will work together to implement a single-stop import- export inspection system at the Lao- Thai Friendship Bridge in Savannakhet province by the end of this month.

Vehicles and drivers leaving Savannakhet province and entering Thailand’s Mukdahan province will be inspected by Lao and Thai customs and immigration officials in Mukdahan, while those entering Laos from Thailand will be checked in Savannakhet.

The trial run will be an important step for Lao and Thai authorities in reviewing all procedures and training staff before official operation of the single-stop service model can take place in the near future.

The system aims to simplify administrative procedures by minimising the number of offices that importers/exporters and their drivers have to visit and the amount of paperwork they have to complete.

The aim is not only to spur economic cooperation between Laos and Thailand but also between all countries in the entire region.

Director General of International Immigration at the 2nd Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Savannakhet, Mr Bounkham Phoutthichack, told Vientiane Times yesterday that the one-stop service model would involve the inspection of goods and people transiting in commercial vehicles at both ends of the bridge.

“A single-stop inspection in the Common Control Area will reduce the time spent at the border crossing. Any unnecessary procedures will be removed,” he said.

“The joint-inspection process will be expanded to cover buses, private vehicles and the general public at a later date,” he added.

Huge volumes of goods and people have crossed the 2nd Thai- Lao Friendship Bridge since it opened in 2006.

The upgraded inspection process is part of Greater Mekong Subregion development to facilitate transport, travel and trade across borders between the region’s members, who also include Myanmar, Vietnam and China.

Currently, Laos and Vietnam operate a one-stop inspection system at the Dansavan-Lao Bao International Checkpoint, which came into effect last year.

The Dansavan-Lao Bao border crossing now uses an e-customs system, helping to shorten waiting times and increase efficiency during the customs clearance process.

The new system can halve the time taken to clear customs at this border crossing.

Laos and Vietnam inked a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the “one-stop service” model at the Dansavan-Lao Bao border crossing in 2005 in line with an agreement on facilitating travel, trade and transport across the border, signed by the Greater Mekong Subregion countries.

Source: Vientiane Times Issue 23 (28 January 2016)