Commerce minister welcomes re-opening of 2 southern border checkpoints

PHOTO: Flickr/Dominic Chan

Thailand’s Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, has welcomed the re-opening of 2 border checkpoints in the southern province of Narathiwat, saying it will boost trade with Malaysia. Both the Tak Bai and Buketa checkpoints re-opened yesterday, with Jurin predicting an increase of at least 600 million baht a year in bilateral trade between Thailand and Malaysia.

The Bangkok Post reports that Jurin plans to accelerate talks aimed at re-opening border checkpoints between Thailand and Cambodia too. The minister says re-opening the Tha Sen and Ban Nong Ian checkpoints, in the eastern provinces of Trat and Sa Kaeo respectively, would boost bilateral trade with Cambodia.

With the opening of the southern checkpoints at Tak Bai and Buketa yesterday, Thailand has now re-opened 48 border checkpoints. However, 49 remain closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bangkok Post reports that cross-border trade has generated 1.2 trillion baht in the period from January to September this year, a 31.6% increase on the same period in 2020. This figure includes transit trade, which involves goods being routed through more than 1 country.

From that total, exports accounted for 778.3 billion baht, a 38% increase, while imports made up 497.1 billion baht, an increase of nearly 23%. According to the Bangkok Post report, 2020 cross-border trade, including transit trade, fell to 1.31 trillion baht, a 1.7% drop on 2019 figures. However, Jurin has seen a light at the end of the tunnel in 2021.

“Cross-border trade was very active this year, as in the first 9 months we already achieved 778.3 billion baht. For the remaining 3 months of the year, the ministry remains bullish about cross-border trade performance and believes the whole-year growth figures will outpace 3% in the previous projection.”

The commerce minister has previously predicted an increase of 4 – 5% in cross-border trade, including transit trade, this year. The value of such trade is now estimated to be between 796.8 billion and 804.5 billion baht, an increase on an earlier prediction of 789.1 billion baht.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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