CLMV leaders push border trade in local currencies

CLMV leaders push border trade in local currencies

Business leaders in Thailand and the CLMV countries are urging their governments to use local currencies for trading along borders instead of the US dollar to facilitate business and cut costs.

Businesses from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar will propose the plan to their governments today at the seventh Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (Acmecs) summit in Vietnam.

Sanan Angubolkul, president of the Thailand-Vietnam Business Council, said using local currencies would benefit business operators and eventually boost trade value along border areas.

The move would reduce risks incurred by volatile exchange rates against the US dollar and shorten the trade process, he said.

Mr Sanan said businesses in these five countries do not have to wait for all parties to be ready to create new initiatives, including using local currencies in trade. Countries can also partner with those that are ready to adapt to using other currencies, he said.

"The move would benefit business in the region immediately if they begin a bilateral agreement to initiate new cooperation, including using local currencies in trade," said Mr Sanan.

He said bilateral trade between Thailand and Vietnam increased 37% over the past three years after the two countries agreed to cooperate under the scheme.

Trade between the pair is expected to rise to US$20 billion by 2020, up from $13 billion now, said Mr Sanan.

Other issues expected to be raised during the meeting in Vietnam include food security, cooperation on farming, human resource development, tourism, environment protection and transport links.

The Thai government plans to establish its first Thai Board of Investment office in Vietnam next year, which is expected to expand trade and investment value between Thailand and Vietnam in both directions, he said.

With government trade facilitation and business cooperation between the two countries, Mr Sanan expects the popularity of Thai products to rise in Vietnam, where consumers already enjoy Thai goods.

The proposal to use local currencies and other cooperative measures that are expected to be created via bilateral agreement is part of the effort to facilitate trade and investment via the Southern Economic Corridor for transport and goods that are routed through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Mr Sanan's council planned a business matching event during the Acmecs summit between Thai and Vietnamese investors, which is expected to help create new investment and additional trade value in the region, he said.

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