State expedites border checkpoint talks

State expedites border checkpoint talks

The government pledges to accelerate talks with neighbouring countries to reopen as many border checkpoints as possible to boost cross-border trade, which has experienced robust growth the first seven months.

According to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, the Foreign Trade Department chief is teaming up with the private sector and the governors of border provinces including Chiang Rai, Loei, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan to continue negotiations with neighbouring countries.

Pak Sang checkpoint in Ubon Ratchathani province is expected to be reopened soon after a joint meeting with Laos on July 30.

According to Mr Jurin, responsible agencies and the private sector are also pushing for reopening the Buketa and Tak Bai border checkpoints in Narathiwat.

A joint meeting with Malaysia is scheduled for next week.

Thailand has opened 97 checkpoints, with 53 still closed because of the outbreak.

In a related development, the Commerce Ministry reported Friday the country’s overall cross-border trade, including transit trade, tallied 971 billion baht between January and July, growth of 31% from the same period last year.

Of the total, exports from Thailand accounted for 591 billion baht, up 37.9%, with imports making up 380 billion, a gain of 21.5% year-on-year.

Border trade rose by 18.3% for the period to 513 billion baht, with transit trade totalling 458 billion, up 48.9%.

Transit trade involves the passage of goods through more than one country.

For border trade, Laos became the biggest partner by value.

Two-way trade between Thailand and Laos reached 409 billion baht (up 46%), followed by Malaysia at 345 billion (up 32.8%), Myanmar at 115 billion (up 11.2%) and Cambodia at 101 billion (up 3.99%).

Key shipments to Laos included diesel, unwrought gold and other finished oils, while rubber, computers and parts, and automobiles and parts were the key export products to Malaysia.

Key shipments to Myanmar were non-alcoholic drinks, diesel, spices and herbs, while those to Cambodia were non-alcoholic drinks, passenger cars, motorcycles and parts.

Transit trade rose to all markets, gaining 64.9% to 216 billion baht to southern China, while that via Singapore was up by 37.1% to 68.5 billion, Vietnam up 17.3% to 41 billion and others rising 44.5% to 132 billion.