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MONDAY, September 25, 2023

Bangkok pushes for stronger Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle

Bangkok pushes for stronger Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle
FRIDAY, May 19, 2023

Thailand pushed for stronger economic cooperation at the 15th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Summit on May 11, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Thursday.

The IMT-GT covers 85 million people in less developed regions of the three countries – 14 provinces in Thailand’s South, eight states in peninsular Malaysia, and 10 provinces of Sumatra.

Held in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia on May 11, the summit heard that the subregion’s trade volume reached US$618 billion (20.3 trillion baht) in 2021, surging from $350.9 billion the year before despite Covid-19.

Arkhom, who attended the summit as Thailand’s representative, said the IMT-GT had also boosted the subregion’s GDP from $12.7 billion in 1984 to $405.7 billion in 2021. The summit marked the 30th anniversary of the IMT-GT’s founding.

Meanwhile, the value of transport infrastructure projects under 𝐈𝐌𝐓-𝐆𝐓’s physical connection project (PCP) action plan jumped from $5.2 billion in 2009 to $57 billion (1.81 trillion baht) in 2022.

Arkhom told the summit that IMT-GT must continue focusing on the following four development aspects:

1. Construction of transport infrastructure under the PCP action plan to create seamless connectivity among the three countries. Thailand has four projects under the action plan – the Hat Yai-Padang Besar railway, Sadao-Bukit Kayu Hitam road, the second Kolok River bridge, and the Satun-Perlis road corridor.

2. Development of agricultural in the three countries, namely rubber and oil palm. Thailand wants the three countries to sign MOUs to increase the value of these products as well as improve their supply chain networks.

3. The Framework of Cooperation in Customs Immigration and Quarantines Procedures must be enacted by the three countries as soon as possible to allow seamless movement of people and products and maximise economic capability in the subregion.

4. Environmental cooperation under the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economy model must be promoted through government-sponsored fundraising, such as issuing sustainability bonds. Model projects include the Green Cities initiative and projects under the Sustainable Urban Development Framework.

Leaders of the three countries also launched a tourism promotion campaign, “Visit IMT-GT Year 2023-2025” under the concept of “Follow Your Dream”, echoing Asean tourism’s motto of “A Destination For Every Dream”. The campaign aims to forge cooperation among tourism authorities and businesses to strengthen confidence in travel in the IMT subregion after Covid-19.