Infoquest, (Feb. 27, 2020) -- In January 2020, Thailand's total border trade registered 86.07 billion baht, down 10.76 percent year-on-year. Of the total figures, exports from Thailand totaled 59.501 billion baht, down 9.44 percent from January last year, with imports shrinking by 13.57 to 26.569 billion baht, resulting in a trade surplus of 32.932 billion, according to Mr. Kirati Ratchano, director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade (DFT).
In terms of border trade, Malaysia remained Thailand's largest trading partner, with two-way border trade totaling 31.024 billion baht, dropping by 16.39 percent. Specifically, exports from Thailand accounted for 19.599 billion baht, down 9.56 percent, while imports dipping by 25.99 percent to 11.425 billion baht. Trade with Laos came in second place, with two-way trade amounting to 24.06 billion baht. Cambodia and Myanmar accounted for 16.784 billion and 14.203 billion baht respectively. Regarding cross-border trade, southern China sat at the position as the largest trading partner of Thailand. The trade value topped 15.08 billion baht, shrinking by 1.09 percent, with the exports making up 8.32 billion baht and the imports 6.76 billion baht, up 16.60 percent and 16.66 percent respectively. Next is Singapore, with a total trade volume with Thailand of 6.177 billion baht, while Vietnam accounted for 3.965 billion baht.
Mr. Kirati said Thai exports to Malaysia continued to decline, such as computers and rubber products. Trade between Thailand and Laos was on the decline, especially in the export of computers, longan and diesel products. While Thailand's trade with Cambodia continued to grow, with exports to Cambodia increasing by 8.33 percent, particularly in automobiles, livestock products, minerals and other fuel products. Total trade between Thailand and Myanmar has increased, but exports have contracted, particularly of diesel, fabric and thread, and refined oil products.
"The plunge in Thailand's cross-border trade stemmed from myriad factors, especially the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, which has dented the global economy, including Thailand and neighboring countries, both in terms of trade and tourism, " said Mr. Kirati.
In response, the DFT developed measures to Thailand's boost border trade by holding a border trade exhibition in Narathiwat in February 2020. The trade fair, attracted 12,000 Thais and Malaysians, helped stimulate the economy of Narathiwat and boost exports at the border of the two countries. The DFT also plans to hold border trade exhibitions in Sa Kae, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Phanom, Tak, and Yala. This move will help increase cross-border trade. Meanwhile, joint meetings of public and private sectors will also be held at Thai border crossings to help resolve myriad problems, facilitate Thai exporters and shore up private sector border trade. The latest event will be the border trade exhibition in Sa Kaeo, scheduled to be held on March 28-31, 2020.
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