By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THAILAND AND Myanmar will next month resume the Joint Trade Commission for promoting closer economic cooperation and boosting bilateral trade, Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said yesterday.
The two nations’ leaders will chair the JTC meeting, the holding of which had been suspended for much of the year because of the transition to a military-led regime in Thailand.
“With upcoming Asean integration, Thailand and Myanmar will strongly tighten cooperation in every channel, mainly cross-border trade and promoting special economic zones in border provinces [such as] between Thailand’s Mae Sot in Tak province and Myanmar’s Myawaddy,” she said.
The JTC is an effective mechanism for solving both countries’ trade and economic problems, and for finding measures as well as tightening cooperation to facilitate trade growth, she added.
The agenda for the January meeting, which will be held in Thailand, is to exchange trade information and promote growth via trade activities; reduce duplicated customs procedures; and promote more trade and investment after completion of the second Friendship Bridge and four-lane roads linking the countries next year.
Moreover, to pave the way for closer cooperation, Apiradi will lead a group of Thai businesspeople on a visit to Mae Sot checkpoint this week for a meeting with counterparts from Myanmar. The aim is to forge closer ties and promote cross-border trade growth.
According to the Foreign Trade Department, cross-border trade with Myanmar was worth Bt173.6 billion in the first 10 months of the year, some 7.8 per cent higher than in the same period last year. Mae Sot is the key checkpoint, with trading value of up to Bt60 billion being generated from January to October.
Meanwhile, to prepare Thai enterprises for the Asean Economic Community, which comes fully into effect late next year, the Foreign Trade Department will continue to organise training activities for businesses along border areas.
Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the department, said many local enterprises still needed to be educated about trade and investment rules and regulations if they were going to benefit from borderless trade under the AEC.
The department will also provide information for Thai businesses about rules of origin, so that they can garner the rewards of the single market, she said.
Previously, the department held a training activity in Sa Kaew province, which 130 enterprises attended. The next such activity will be held in Hat Yai, in Songkhla province.