The Thai and Malaysian prime ministers on Monday agreed to facilitate bilateral border trade and tourism through the new, bigger Sadao border checkpoint in the Thai province of Songkhla.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and his Malaysian counterpart Anwar Ibrahim met at the customs office of the new Sadao border checkpoint on Monday.
According to Government House, both sides agreed to speed up their road access to the new Sadao checkpoint on the Thai side of the border to increase cross-border trade and travel. The old Sadao checkpoint is small and cannot be expanded.
On the Malaysian side, the new Sadao checkpoint will be connected by road to the Bukit Kayu Hitam checkpoint in Malaysia's Kedah state.
Both sides also agreed to form joint task forces to coordinate border trade, tourism, and agricultural and security affairs.
Mr Srettha asked Malaysia to host a Joint Trade Commission meeting for their commerce ministers to discuss solutions to bilateral trade obstacles. He also asked the neighbouring country's government to quickly work out a memorandum of understanding on cross-border transport of goods to facilitate the operation of the new Sadao checkpoint.
Mr Settha then asked Mr Anwar to support cooperation between the Thai and Malaysian chambers of commerce near the border so that they can jointly promote trade, tourism and development in border areas.
The Thai side pointed out that Thai visitors to Malaysia still lacked adequate access to public transport on the Malaysian side of the border.
Mr Srettha also asked Malaysia to support his government's plan to establish a Halal department.
On security, both sides agreed to coordinate efforts to tackle wildlife trafficking along their border.
The Thai and Malaysian prime ministers also promised to speed up their sections of the second Sungai Kolok bridge planned to link Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat and the Malaysian town of Rantau Panjang.
After their meeting, Mr Srettha said he intended to promote border trade with Malaysia, with a targeted value of bilateral trade reaching US$30 million a year in 2025. He hoped that Thai and Malaysian road access to the new Sadao border checkpoint would be completed in 2025.
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