By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THREE STRATEGIES have been drawn up to increase the value of border trade by 15 per cent to Bt1.7 trillion this year.
They are increasing purchasing power, increasing the volume of trade in goods, and eliminating non-tariff barriers.
The strategies were established at a meeting of the Border Trade Promotion and Investment in Neighbouring Countries Committee yesterday that was chaired by Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn.
Niyom Waiyaratpanich, vice chairman to the Thai Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Border Trade Committee, said the government had called for the streamlining of customs procedures.
Niyom said the government also wanted non-tariff barriers reduced to promote the growth of border trade in order to support the economy and boost the standard of living of local people. He said measures the government undertake immediately included increasing the maximum allowed for hand-carry goods from US$200 (Bt7,000) to $1,000, to reflect the higher prices of goods.
Niyom said the government also wanted to allow trucks from neighbouring countries entering the Kingdom to do so within a set area, say 3 kilometres from the checkpoint, before their cargo must be transferred to Thai-licensed trucks. This would save costs on logistics and facilitate trans-shipments.
Enterprises have also urged the government to extend the visa-exemption period for border passes from seven to 14 days.
Niyom said that if Thailand |wanted to promote border-trade growth, non-tariff barriers should be reduced. The government might consider setting up a task force to discuss border trade with each partner country.
Apiradi said the government had agreed to set up a subcommittee to promote border trade between Thailand and Myanmar after the private sector agreed to set up the Thai-Myanmar Business Council.
The Commerce Ministry will stage the “Thai-Myanmar Trade Expo” in Mae Sot, Tak province, in November.
The ministry reported that border trade was up 3.6 per cent to Bt576.05 billion during the first half of this year.