FTI foresees drop in border trade

FTI foresees drop in border trade

Thailand's border trade is expected to slow down this year due to the ongoing political conflict in Myanmar and economic problems in other neighbouring countries, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia are the countries that border Thailand.

"We trade with these countries which currently face challenges to their economic growth," said Montri Mahaplerkpong, vice-chairman of the FTI.

The challenges include attempts to deal with an anti-government insurgency in Myanmar and negative economic factors, including high inflation and household debt problems in other countries, he said.

Border trade volumes with most of these countries have already dropped, with trade with Myanmar decreasing by 11.1%, trade with Malaysia falling by 11.7% and trade with Cambodia diving by 19.2%.

Thailand sees its trade with Laos rising by 1.16%.

The FTI suggested Thai exporters use the baht as a key exchange currency for their trade with neighbouring countries.

"The baht value is financially healthier than Myanmar's kyat, Laos's kip and Cambodia's rial, which are weak and prone to fluctuations," said Mr Montri.

Last year, Thailand's total border trade value decreased by 12% year-on-year to roughly 930 billion baht, with the export value falling by 10.3% year-on-year to 580 billion baht and the import value decreasing by 14.7% year-on-year to roughly 350 billion baht.

According to Mr Montri, the neighbouring countries also face the problem of an influx of cheap Chinese products into their countries, affecting local manufacturers.

Thailand is struggling to deal with this problem that hits its manufacturing sector.

The FTI said earlier that up to 20 industrial sectors, including steel, aluminium, plastics, ceramics, petrochemicals and medicine, are struggling to deal with tougher competition, with small and medium-sized enterprises the most negatively affected.

Chinese imports have caused some local manufacturers to reduce production by 50%.

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