2. Economic Corridors -
Economic Corridor is an approach to leverage overall development by integrating infrastructure with other economic opportunities including trade, investment and efforts to address social and other impacts arising from increased connectivity of respective region.
There are three main economic corridors that have so far been defined in the GMS Programme, namely the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) – running from the Da Nang Port in Vietnam, through Lao PDR, Thailand, and to the Mawlamyine Port in Myanmar; the North- South Economic Corridor (NSEC) – which covers the major routes running from Kunming to Chiang Rai to Bangkok via Lao PDR and via Myanmar, and from Kunming to Hanoi to Haiphong (and most recently, from Nanning to Hanoi); and the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) – which runs through southern Thailand, Cambodia, and southern Vietnam.
With the assistance of UNESCAP, ADB and Mekong River Commission, East-West Economic Corridor project is being implemented not only to improve freight transportation and trade in the region but also for the development of transportation network across Mekong subregion, mainly in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (Cho, 2008).
The EWEC is designed to be the direct and continuous land route between the Indian Ocean and the South China. The highly efficient transport system will strengthen economic cooperation between Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR and Vietnam by linking two port cities: Mawlamyine in Myanmar and Da Nang in Vietnam.
Although EWEC connects eastern ASEAN countries, Western and Southern Economic Corridors are the key base to establish Mekong-India Economic Corridor (MIEC) by extending the link to Dawei in Myanmar. The MIEC is advantageous for Myanmar as it will enable direct trade, transit trade and the development of special economic or industrial zones along the corridors (e.g., Yangon, Mandalay, Monywa, Myingyan, Mawlamyine, Dawei, Kyautphyu, etc.) as well as trade posts in the border areas (e.g. Myawaddy, Tamu, Rhi, Muse, etc.). Development of economic corridors and transportation networks will reduce not only transport costs but also growth differentials among the respective countries in the region.