Bilateral trade between Thailand and Burma is expected to grow three times to US$13 billion (Bt421 billion) in 2015 from the current $4.3 billion, thanks to closer economic cooperation under the Joint Trade Commission (JTC) and the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot said the JTC meeting has come up with four concrete plans to facilitate trade, tourism and investment growth.
The outcome followed the meeting between Alongkorn and Brig-General Aung Tun, Burma’s Deputy Minister of Commerce, and the private sector during the fourth JTC meeting held in Hua-Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan, yesterday. It was the first government-level meeting in six years after they had been suspended.
Bilateral trade was worth $4.3 billion (Bt150 billion) last year, with Thai exports valued at Bt54 billion and imports of Bt96 billion.
The four agreements were:
n The two nations agreed to exchange trade information and promote growth via trade exhibitions. A Single Service Inspection will be opened at Mae Sot, Thailand, and Myawadi, the border-trade zone in Burma, to reduce duplicated customs procedure.
n They agreed to reap the benefits from the North-South and East-East corridors from the construction of the roadway linking Burma and Thailand. Both nations also agreed to set up a plan for constructing the second friendship bridge.
n Accelerated opening two more permanent border checkpoints at Huay Ton Nun, Mae Hong Son and Shan State, Dan Sing Khon, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Myeik in Burma to boost cross-border trade.
n Open two new trading roadways called Myawadi-Moulmein, and Kanchanaburi-Tavoy, and develop a new trading roadway between Mae Hong Son and Nay Pyi Daw to facilitate logistics growth.
The joint trade committee is an efficiency mechanism to increase trade growth between Thailand and Burma.
The economic activity in 10 provinces along the border should increase significantly after the implementation of the plan, said Alongkorn.