The Development of Border Regions in Southeast Asia: Cross-border Trade in the Vietnam - Lao PDR Border Areas




Lamijo, Lamijo

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The thesis examines the Lao Bảo-Dansavanh cross-border trade and economic activities in the Viet – Lao border areas. For thousands of years the Lao Bảo area has long been a knot in regional trade and saw violent see-saw battles during the US War period. After the end of the Cold War in 1990s, there was new a perspective on how to develop the border not only in the context of conflict resolution but also in terms of regional economic development and integration among the bordering countries in Southeast Asia. Several concept of the economic joint development has become popular in the discussions about the border regions in Southeast Asia since the 1990s, such as growth triangle, growth areas, development triangle area of Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV), and Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program (GMS-ECP). As a result, borders are once again not viewed as barriers to the relations between bordering nation states but instead; borders are zones of contacts, economic development and cooperation. The implementation of Đổi mới policy in 1986 and GMS-ECP in 1992 played an important role to the development of Lao Bảo- Dansavanh cross-border areas. The development of Lao Bảo cross-border areas is a result of several cross-borders joint projects launched by GMS countries since 1990s, such as the Cross-border Trade Agreement, the East West Economic Corridor, and the Lao Bảo Special Economic and Commercial Area. These agreements brought livelihood to thousands of has benefited not only to the traders, porters (kéo hàng), money changers (đổi tiền), entrepreneurs, and speed up movement of goods, people, and services on both sides of the border. This study focus on the local ethnic groups at the border, namely the Vân Kiều, Pa Kô, and Kado, who have participated the border economic activities. The benefits and opportunities have not been evenly distributed. These people engage in a lower economic chain, such as motor cycle taxi driver (Xe ôm), porters (kéo hàng), and small traders selling unprocessed crops at low price. They seem to be excluded from taking larger profit of border development. While border development has boosted the growth of both cross-border trade and economic activities, this benefit is less than equally distributed among local peoples.



Border development, regional cooperation, cross-border trade, Lao Bảo




Thesis (MPhil)

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights



Restricted until