THE EXPORT-IMPORT Bank of Thailand plans to open two more representative offices in Laos and Cambodia at the end of this year and early next year to double loans for Thai investors expanding into Indochina.
Vietnam is the next step, president Pisit Serewiwattana said after the opening of Exim Bank’s first rep office in Yangon yesterday.
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) make up half of its total outstanding loans of Bt80 billion.
Its 10-year master plan launched this year aims to make it a world-class specialised financial institution serving as a key mechanism in driving Thailand’s international trade and investment strategies.
The government is counting on its “Thailand 4.0” initiative, 20-year National Strategies and the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2017-21) to propel the country into the major leagues.
The trade bank has devised a key strategy of acting as a market maker to strengthen international commerce and investment through exploring major and new frontier markets with fresh demand for Thai goods and services.
The bank plans to extend Bt8 billion in financing for CLMV this year and Bt16 billion next year.
Regional currencies pushed
Finance Minster Apisak Tantivorawong said at the opening ceremony that the Exim Bank office in Yangon was in line with the government’s policy to deepen trade and investment relations with neighbouring nations, especially the CLMV countries, which are showing strong economic growth in this region. Myanmar is another country with potential for Thai investment and trade.
Its economy is on a roll and needs more capital from overseas to fuel the growth, Apisak said.
“We also plan to push the use of regional currencies for trade and investment.
“This is the next step to improve both trade and investment from both countries,” he said.
Thailand and Myanmar have had close trade and investment relations for a long time.
When Exim Bank sets up in Myanmar, that will be a challenge to promote trade and investment for both countries.
Also yesterday, Exim Bank signed an agreement with Myanma Foreign Trade Bank to join hands in the provision of financial support and the exchange of information and experiences in trade and investment promotion for mutual benefit.
They will help Thai and Myanmar entrepreneurs penetrate foreign markets.
The two banks will develop their human resources and share expertise in trade and investment financing as well as international payment services.
Narong Thasnamipan, president and chief executive officer of Seafco, which is active in Myanmar, applauded Exim Bank’s move to establish a formal presence in Yangon. This would encourage Thai investors to do business in Myanmar, which has strong demand for foreign companies to get involved in both infrastructure and manufacturing. “We have invested in Myanmar for more than four years in construction-related business that generates sales of about Bt100 million a year,” he said.