Thailand: Border trade to grow on regional demand
Thailand’s border trade is expected to continue growing by at least 3% next year, driven by the growing economies of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and the popularity of Thai products in those markets. Adul Chotinisakorn, deputy director-general of Foreign Trade Department, said border trade prospects remain strong and promising, while the economies of the four neighbouring countries are expected to continue growing by 6-7% a year.
“Next year, the department vows to come up with new strategic plans to drive border trade, including new border checkpoints at Ban Laem and Ban Pakkard border passes in Pong Nam Ron District to link Thailand’s Chanthaburi to Cambodia’s Battambang province and Pailin province, Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Sing Khon border pass to Myanmar’s Myeik and Loei’s Tha Li border pass to Laos,” he said. “Business networking and partnership between Thai entrepreneurs along the border provinces and neighbouring counterparts will be also be beefed up to maximise distribution of Thai products.” According to Mr Adul, the government will also ramp up the Young Entrepreneur Network Development Programme (YEN-D) that brings together young entrepreneurs from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand to help boost future trade and investment.
The YEN-D programme also features special training courses for young business people to help them understand each other’s culture and regulations better.
The government launched the YEN-D programme last year and now provides training courses for four classes. Each class contains up to 30 Thai entrepreneurs and a similar number from the other countries. Last year’s scheme trained a total of 120 young entrepreneurs. The programme not only creates better knowledge and understanding of the region among Thai participants but also creates trust among young entrepreneurs in the five countries as well as possible business matching.
Mr Adul said the government also plans to support and facilitate the establishment of distribution centres in Thailand and neighbouring countries.
The proliferation of distribution centres will help small and medium-sized enterprises expand their distribution channels and lower logistics costs, he said.
In a related development, the department yesterday reported Thailand’s border trade in the first 11 months of 2016 totalled 1.33 trillion baht, up 1.27% from the same period last year.
For the whole year, the border trade value is estimated at 1.47 trillion baht, up 2.8% from a year before.
Mr Adul admitted this year’s figures are much lower than the target of 1.7 trillion baht, and blamed the unfavourable global economy.