Government upbeat as cross-border trade rises

Government upbeat as cross-border trade rises

Cross-border trade rose by 26.7% in the first four months, increasing the government's confidence such trade will grow by 3-6% this year after declining 1.7% in 2020.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit revealed on Tuesday the country's overall cross-border trade, including transit trade, tallied 526 billion baht between January and April, 295 billion of which belonged to border trade, up by 17% year-on-year, with 231 billion from transit trade, a rise of 41.9%.

Transit trade involves the passage of goods through more than one country.

For border trade, Malaysia remained the biggest partner by value. Two-way trade between Thailand and Malaysia amounted to 107 billion baht (up 52.9%), followed by Laos at 71.2 billion (up 13.5%), Myanmar at 60.2 billion (down 0.002%) and Cambodia at 56.9 billion (down by 4.5%).

Key products to Malaysia included rubber, computers and parts, and automobiles and parts, while unwrought gold, diesel and passengers were key products exported to Laos.

The main shipments to Cambodia were non-alcoholic drinks, passenger cars, motorcycles and parts, while major exports to Myanmar were non-alcoholic drinks, diesel, spices and herbs.

Transit trade increased to all markets, gaining 54.3% to 102 billion baht to southern China, while Singapore was up by 34.6% to 36.2 billion, Vietnam rose 22.5% to 22.4 billion, and others increased 36.8% to 70.0 billion.

The main products sent to southern China were fruit, rubber and computers, while those to Singapore comprised computers, electric circuits and circuit breakers. Key products bound for Vietnam comprised semiconductors, transistors, diodes, non-alcoholic drinks and livestock products.

"The uptick in cross-border trade is attributed to close cooperation between the ministry, related state agencies and the private sector through the Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee on Commerce to eliminate export obstacles and speed up reopening of border checkpoints. This teamwork increased border trade volume and solved inland transport problems with important partners such as China and Vietnam," Mr Jurin said.

He also pledged to expedite the reopening of more border checkpoints. Thailand operates 97 checkpoints, with 51 closed because of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Keerati Rushchano, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said it is confident of cross-border trade growing 3-6% to 1.4 trillion baht this year, up from 1.3 trillion last year.

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