Thailand: Border commerce continues to boom

  • Thailand’s border trade is expected to flourish in 2018, thanks to the government’s continuous promotion activities and growing demand for Thai products among neighbouring countries.
  • Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the department projected Thailand’s total border trade, including transit trade, to grow 15% in 2018 to THB1.5tr from THB1.32tr in 2017.
  • Transit trade is business connected with the passage of goods through a country to their destination. Malaysia was the biggest trade partner for border trade, controlling 50.3% of the total, followed by Laos, which accounted for 19.6%, Myanmar 17.5%, and Cambodia 12.7%.
  • Thailand’s border trade has grown between 10-14% a year over the last five years.
  • For Jan-May 18, the Foreign Trade Department reported border trade including transit trade remained strong, with growth of 6.4% y/y to THB564bn, THB320bn of which was from exports, down 1.53%. Imports for the period amounted to THB243bn, up 19%.
  • Border trade with Malaysia made up the biggest portion, contributing THB233bn, up 0.5%, followed by that with Laos, up 7.52% to THB90.7bn, while Cambodia gained 7.51% to THB58.7bn. Border trade between Myanmar and Thailand saw the highest growth for the period, up 9.47% to THB81bn.
  • Combined border trade with the four bordering countries totalled THB463.86bn, up 4.18% for the period.
  • The department reported transit trade with Singapore, Vietnam and southern China, whose borders are adjacent to those four bordering countries, also rose, with values totalling THB100bn, up 18% in Jan-May 18.
  • Transit trade to Vietnam fetched the highest value, worth THB34.3bn, up 17.6% in Jan-May 18, followed by that with southern China, worth THB33.5bn, a gain of 21.9%, and Singapore was THB32.7bn.
  • The transit trade trend is promising, notably with southern China, thanks to higher exports for agricultural products, especially for fresh and frozen fruits and an approval by China’s government agency overseeing imported farm products, adding 22 Thai fruits in 2018 including mangosteen, dried longan and durian.

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