Border boom pushes trade to rise 6.4%
Improved transport with increased investment along border areas have pushed Thai border trade value in the first five months of this year up 6.4%, to 529.5 billion baht.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said increased trade volume in major border areas was seen particularly in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, which have a growing demand for Thai goods as their own economies expand.
"Investment along the border areas and in the tourism industry, which encourages tourists to cross via those areas, is helping increase demand for Thai goods," Mrs Apiradi said.
Of the 529.5-billion-baht border trade value, 445.5 billion came from the border areas of those three countries, she said.
Mrs Apiradi said growing tourism at a time when transport networks linking Asean are expanding has also pushed demand for Thai consumer goods.
"This matches the Thai government's policy of 'stronger together', and we aim to improve transport and logistics systems along the borders to facilitate trade and investment," she said.
Currently, exports to Asean countries are worth 3.21 trillion baht, accounting for 22% of Thailand's annual exports.
Government investment in infrastructure projects, particularly in rail projects that will link neighbouring countries to Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor, are expected to help increase investment value and border trade in the near future.
Border trade is also expected to help boost Thailand's overall annual export volume, for which the Commerce Ministry has set a 5% growth target for 2017.
In May, Thai exports jumped 13.2% year-on-year to US$19.9 billion, the highest in more than four years, as the global economic recovery helped boost demand and shrug off the impact of the baht's appreciation.