Established in 2000, the Greater Mekong Subregion Business Forum (GMS-BF) is a multicountry, independent, nongovernment organization, and a joint initiative of the chambers of commerce of the six GMS countries; Cambodia, People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It plays a key role in promoting and facilitating cross-border trade and investment in the region. At the 5th GMS Summit 2015, GMS-BF has been upgraded to a GMS Business Council (GMS-BC).
GMS-BC contributes to the effective implementation of the GMS Development Program through the involvement of the private sector in program activities and investment. The main goal of the GMS-BC is to foster cooperation and growth of the private sector through information sharing, networking, and public-private sector dialogue. The activities have been centered to facilitate cross-border trade and transport, through the operation of the GMS Freight Transport Association (GMS-FRETA); to Improve the business environment and access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); to enhance the participation of the private sector in the infrastructure development projects of the GMS Regional Investment Framework (RIF); and to address pre-and-post disaster preparedness and mitigation for GMS enterprises.
Membership is open to businesses of all kinds, international and national, operating in GMS countries. With the secretariat office in Vientiane and three satellite offices in Bangkok, Hanoi, and Beijing, the GMS-BC is well positioned to respond to all business inquiries with the expertise of its management and local.
The GMS-BC is funded by corporate membership fees. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commissions for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) have also supported the council.
GMS-BC participates in the GMS Economic Corridor Forums and reports to the GMS Ministerial Meeting and GMS Leaders’ Summit.