Thailand’s cross-border trade projected to grow 9 percent this year hinh anh 1A street in Bangkok (Photo: AP)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai government expects cross-border trade to expand by as much as 8-9 percent this year, propelled by the global economic recovery, baht weakening, and ongoing efforts by the Commerce Ministry to speed up the reopening of border checkpoints, as well as cooperation with the private sector.

Thai Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit recently said that overall cross-border trade, including transit trade, is likely to grow by 8-9 percent this year, up from an estimate of 4-5 percent made last month.

Jurin said cross-border trade, including transit trade, tallied 1.42 trillion THB (42.5 billion USD) in the first ten months of 2021, posting a year-on-year surge 31.7 percent. Of the total, exports made up 860 billion THB, up 37.4 percent, while imports rose 23.9 percent to 564 billion THB.

Last year, overall border trade, including transit trade, declined 1.7 percent from 2019 to 1.31 trillion THB. Last year's drop was attributed to the pandemic and border checkpoint closures in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, in addition to the strong baht.

Despite the pandemic, cross-border trade fared quite well this year, Jurin said, adding that factors expanding border trade include the global economic recovery, baht depreciation, and quick reopening of border checkpoints.

Thailand has reopened a total of 48 checkpoints, including those at Tak Bai and Buketa in Narathiwat in the middle of last month. Some 49 are still closed due to the pandemic.

Another checkpoint expected to reopen soon is Ban Nong Ian in Sa Kaeo province, in the Cambodian border.

Authorities in Nong Khai province are planning to reopen border with Laos on December 24./.

Tran Ngoc Quang VNA