Forum calls for upgrades to cross-border payment systems

Forum calls for upgrades to cross-border payment systems

Thailand's cross-border e-commerce still has great potential for growth, but improvements in payment systems and one-stop services need to be accelerated.

Speaking at the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD) Forum 2023 on "Unlocking Trade for CLMVT (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand)", Wimon Punkong, director of ITD's Research Development and Promotion Office, said cross-border e-commerce is becoming increasingly important and Thailand has the potential to sell products in neighbouring countries because of similar tastes.

However, selling on foreign platforms such as Shopee, Lazada and large logistics platforms will make it difficult for Thailand to create its own competing platform, as Thailand is not strong in data science, though it has good products, he said.

Mr Wimon said an ITD study found the rules of global e-commerce are unclear, making it difficult for small businesses to compete.

In addition, logistics and trust are important factors in e-commerce.

Current problems with payment and logistics systems, infrastructure, and unclear laws between Thailand and neighbouring countries are hampering this sector, he said.

"Cross-border e-commerce in CLMV still has positive potential for growth in the future, but there are problems with money transfers, which Singapore is helping to sort out. If Thailand does not participate, it will miss out on opportunities," said Mr Wimon.

"Thai banks should negotiate with CLMV banks to agree on whether QR codes can be used for financial convenience."

In addition, he said the development of a true one-stop service system is needed to allow small exporters to reduce costs in submitting permission documents to various agencies.

Mr Wimon said the e-commerce markets in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are still in the early stages, affording them massive growth potential.

Thai entrepreneurs wanting to enter these markets should study them and conduct competitive analysis to understand the competition and allow Thai operators to create a unique identity, he said.

The Thai private sector should invest more in transport and logistics to connect with local service providers and reduce costs, said Mr Wimon.

Transport and production distribution systems are considered vital to online trade with neighbouring countries, he said.

Kittipun Moonsrichai, president of Thai Exporter and Manufacturer Association, said shipments to CLMV nations now that the pandemic has eased still offer plentiful opportunities as demand for Thai products is rising, especially for food, processed agricultural products, biomedical, health and spa, and innovation products.

To support export expansion, he said the government should organise more trade fairs and business matching events in CLMV through the assistance of commercial ambassadors, while accelerating free trade agreement (FTA) talks with potential dialogue partners for pacts Thailand has yet to sign.

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