THAILAND and Myanmar aim to increase bilateral trade to between US$10 billion and $12 billion next year, from $7.74 billion in 2015, under closer cooperation through the Joint Trade Commission (JTC) and Asean integration.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said yesterday that the two neighbouring countries would strengthen ties in trade, investment and other forms of cooperation.
The proposals for enhanced cooperation will be discussed during the seventh meeting of the JTC, to be held in Nay Pyi Taw for two days beginning tomorrow. Apiradi will lead the Thai delegation, while Myanmar’s trade minister will chair the meeting.
The trade goal was set after the recent meeting between Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
At the JTC meeting, the ministers will discuss cooperation on Mae Sot-Myawaddy border trade and the setting up of a CLMVT (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) Business Council led by the private sector to solve trade-related problems.
Under the JTC, Thailand and Myanmar will also support the use of local currencies in special economic zones (SEZs) and other areas, while seeking ways to facilitate investment from both countries.
Moreover, Thailand will encourage a bilateral agreement on Thailand-Myanmar transport to facilitate logistics growth between the two sides, as well as support the upgrading of border checkpoints.
The JTC will also discuss tourism promotion, transportation for two countries people, support for the Dawei SEZ project, job creation for Myanmar nationals, and promoting Thai and Myanmar woven fabrics.
According to Commerce Ministry data, Myanmar is Thailand’s eight-largest trading partner in Asean, and its 15th-largest globally.
During the past five years, bilateral trade has been worth $7.37 billion on average. In 2015, trade was valued $7.74 billion (Bt272 billion), with exports from Thailand worth $4.17 billion. Border trade accounted for 80 per cent or $6.23 billion.
Meanwhile, the government will also aim to strengthen trade with Kenya and Mozambique during a mission by Commerce Ministry permanent secretary Chutima Bunyapraphasara to the two African nations from July 9 to 18.
Chutima said she would lead Thai delegations for the first senior official Thailand-Mozambique JTC in Maputo on July 14. During the meeting, the two nations will discuss the purchase of rice by Mozambique from the Thai government.
Thailand will also discuss cooperation in the jewellery industry, fishery concessions, and financial issues for promoting economic cooperation and trade in agriculture, tourism and energy.
Chutima said Mozambique could be a good source of raw materials for Thailand’s jewellery industry, while Thailand could supply many products to Mozambique. These included food and processed agricultural goods, seasoning, medicines and supplements, cosmetics, and agricultural machinery.
Moreover, Thai investors could help Mozambique develop its infrastructure and utilities system. Other potential investments for Thailand are in fishery and fish farming, fertiliser, furniture and processed wood, construction, and alternative energy.