Govt focuses on enhancing cross-border trade

March 25, 2008 - Thailand

For the ongoing year, the Commerce Ministry of Thailand wishes to increase border trade between the country and its neighbors by 12-15 percent from the earlier 356 billion baht.

However, it is quite evident that achieving this goal would require opening up of more distribution outlets in the border provinces of Thailand.

Statistics of last year show that Thailand exported goods worth around 193.92 billion baht and expended some 162.08 billion baht on imports. Moreover, bilateral trade with Malaysia, Burma, Laos and Cambodia stood at 197.57, 95.96, 46.80 and 33.66 billion baht respectively.

It was only with Burma that Thailand showed a trade deficit and this was mainly due high imports of natural gas. Besides, in the month of January this year, the total value of cross border trade with these four countries reached 29.96 billion baht marking a surge of 3.51 percent.

Need of the hour is to construct more outlets in provinces such as Sa Kaew and Udon Thani which have road or bridge links to neighboring countries. In fact the Government has promised the development of a deep-sea port at Pak Bara, Satun Province to enhance trade between Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In addition to this, the Government also has plans to provide financial services to traders along the border as this will promote partnerships with Thai commercial banks. Contract farming in neighboring nations will also be encouraged for crops like cotton.

Experts believe that if Thai investors capitalize on special economic zones in neighboring countries, textile industry in particular can attain tariff benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).