Jurin, who is also deputy prime minister, spoke to reporters while leading a delegation of senior ministry officials to the customs checkpoint at the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge in Nong Khai on Monday afternoon.
Accompanying Jurin were Commerce permanent secretary Boonyarit Kalayanamitr, deputy permanent secretary Poonpong Naiyanaphakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department Phithak Udomwichaiwat and director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department Oramon Supthaweetham.
Jurin said the delegation had spoken to the private sector about how the high-speed railway can be used to boost Thai exports to Laos and China.
He said Beijing has given Thailand the right to use the railway to transport minerals, rubber and tapioca to China, so far, and the Commerce Ministry will seek permission to also add fruit to the list. However, he did not indicate the timeframe for such talks.
Jurin went on to say that the high-speed railway currently goes as far as the south of Vientiane and will be extended another 3 kilometres along the banks of the Mekong River on the Laos side.
Once this is done, he said, a dry port will be built in Laos to handle logistics, warehousing and customs clearance. The port is expected to be ready in February.
Thai exporters can use the port to send goods to China via the high-speed train and if negotiations are successful, then the port can also be used to ship fruit.
As for bilateral trade with Laos, Jurin said cross-border trade was valued at almost 200 billion baht over the past year, with Thai exports accounting for about 112 billion baht.
Published : January 10, 2022
By : THE NATION