Border reopenings mooted to boost trade

Border reopenings mooted to boost trade

The government is accelerating talks with neighbouring countries to reopen 11 border checkpoints to boost cross-border trade which has already shown signs of strong recovery.

According to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, reopening more border checkpoints will help a lot in boosting border trade activities during the remaining months of the year.

Thailand operates 97 checkpoints, with 51 still closed because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

According to Mr Jurin, among the 11 border checkpoints included in the talks are the Chaem Pong checkpoint in Chiang Mai; the Chiang Khan border checkpoint in Loei, the Ban Mo and Tha Sadet checkpoints in Nong Khai, and the Buketa and Tak Bai border checkpoints in Narathiwat.

Mr Jurin said he is scheduled to visit border checkpoints during July 9-11 in Ubon Ratchathani, Amnat Charoen, and Si Sa Ket while following up on the reopening of border checkpoints in Ubon Ratchathani and Mukdahan.

The ministry has pledged to forge closer cooperation with related state agencies and the private sector through the joint public and private sector consultative committee on commerce to eliminate export obstacles and help enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro SMEs to obtain new loans more easily to increase liquidity.

Mr Jurin said the country's overall cross-border trade, including transit trade, is expected to grow by 3-6% to 1.4 trillion baht this year, up from 1.3 trillion last year.

For the first five months of the year, cross-border trade, including transit trade, tallied 677.07 billion baht, a rise of 29.15% from the same period of last year. Of the total, border trade rose by 19.85% for the period to 371 billion baht, with transit trade totalling 306.03 billion baht, up 42.57%.

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 reached 134.4 billion baht (up 53%), followed by Laos at 87.3 billion (up 13.3%), Myanmar at 78.8 billion (up 6.9%) and Cambodia at 70.3 billion (down 0.68%).

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.

Key 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 rose to all markets, rising 54.8% to 140.4 billion baht to southern China, while that via Singapore was up by 28.7% to 46.4 billion baht, Vietnam up 15.7% to 28.5 billion baht, and others rising 43.3% to 90.5 billion baht.

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