In 2009, the Hanoi – Lao Cai expressway with a total length of 264 km and investment of US$1.2 billion sourced from the ADB was considered a strategic part of the Kunming – Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong road corridor and the cooperation programme between the six GMS countries namely Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China. The expressway is not only important to localities where it runs through but also the whole north-western region.
Meanwhile, the Noi Bai – Lao Cai expressway, the longest of its kind in Vietnam, was put into operation in September 2014 as part of the North – South economic corridor, helping reduce traveling time from seven hours to three hours and facilitating goods transport.
The expressway has contributed to making significant economic changes in Vietnam’s northern localities and China’s southern region through increasing trade and investment exchanges and tourism.
The ADB also supported the establishment of the southern economic corridor linking cities and towns in the southern GMS region and the East – West economic corridor spanning 1,320 km from Da Nang port in the eastern coast of Vietnam to the coast of the Indian Ocean in Myanmar.
GMS was established in 1992 as an initiative of the ADB. The GMS Cooperation Programme is the most complete cooperation programme that involves Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces. The programme prioritizes infrastructure development, energy, telecommunication, tourism, trade-investment, human resources, and environment.
To realise the common goal of turning the GMS into a prosperous, integrated and harmonious region, leaders of the GMS countries approved a 10-year strategic framework at the fourth GMS Summit in the Philippines in 2011, making it a foundation for GMS cooperation orientations from 2012 to 2022 to boost regional and extra-regional integration and cooperation.
Vietnam is scheduled to host the sixth GMS Summit and the 10th Summit of Cambodia – Laos – Vietnam (CLV) Development Triangle in Hanoi from March 29-31 with a view to boosting regional economic links.