Border commerce continues to boom
Thailand's border trade is expected to flourish this year, thanks to the government's continuous promotion activities and growing demand for Thai products among neighbouring countries.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the department projected Thailand's total border trade, including transit trade, to grow 15% this year to 1.5 trillion baht from 1.32 trillion in 2017.
Transit trade is business connected with the passage of goods through a country to their destination.
Malaysia was the biggest trade partner for border trade, controlling 50.3% of the total, followed by Laos, which accounted for 19.6%, Myanmar 17.5%, and Cambodia 12.7%.
Thailand's border trade has grown between 10-14% a year over the last five years.
For the first five months of this year, the Foreign Trade Department reported border trade including transit trade remained strong, with growth of 6.4% year-on-year to 564 billion baht, 320 billion of which was from exports, down 1.53%.
Imports for the period amounted to 243 billion baht, up 19%.
Border trade with Malaysia made up the biggest portion, contributing 233 billion baht, up 0.5%, followed by that with Laos, up 7.52% to 90.7 billion, while Cambodia gained 7.51% to 58.7 billion.
Border trade between Myanmar and Thailand saw the highest growth for the period, up 9.47% to 81 billion baht.
Combined border trade with the four bordering countries totalled 463.86 billion baht, up 4.18% for the period.
The department reported transit trade with Singapore, Vietnam and southern China, whose borders are adjacent to those four bordering countries, also rose, with values totalling 100 billion baht, up 18% in the first five months this year.
Transit trade to Vietnam fetched the highest value, worth 34.3 billion baht, up 17.6% in the first five months this year, followed by that with southern China, worth 33.5 billion, a gain of 21.9%, and Singapore was 32.7 billion, up 14.6%.
"The transit trade trend is promising, notably with southern China, thanks to higher exports for agricultural products, especially for fresh and frozen fruits and an approval by China's government agency overseeing imported farm products, adding 22 Thai fruits this year including mangosteen, dried longan and durian," said Mr Adul.
The department organised a strategic partnership fair between Thailand and Myanmar in Kanchanaburi during June 28-July 1, he said, the first time local government leaders in Tanintharyi, Myanmar visit Kanchanaburi to talk to businesses to increase trade and investment.