Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand's cross-border trade is expected to recover to growth of 3-6 percent this year, spurred by COVID-19 vaccine distribution and the global economic recovery.

According to Keerati Rushchano, Director-General of the Thai Foreign Trade Department, cross-border trade, which includes transit trade, is likely to generate 1.36-1.40 trillion baht (44.6-45.9 billion USD), up from 1.31 trillion baht in 2020.

Last year, overall border trade, including transit trade, declined 1.7 percent from the year before mainly because of the pandemic and the closed border checkpoints to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, in addition to the strong baht.

Of last year's figures, exports represented 766 billion baht, down 2.16 percent year-on-year, while imports shrank by 1.05 percent to 553 billion baht, resulting in a trade surplus of 213 billion baht.

Border trade with four neighbouring countries amounted to 760 billion baht, down 8.01 percent year-on-year. Malaysia was the biggest partner by value, with two-way trade totalling 249 billion baht (down 9.1 percent). It was followed by Laos at 190 billion baht (down 3.85 percent), Myanmar at 165 billion baht (down by 14.7 percent) and Cambodia at 156 billion baht (down by 3.15 percent).

Transit trade, mainly with Singapore, Vietnam and southern China, rose 8.41 percent last year to 559 billion baht.

Transit trade with southern China and Singapore went up by 20 percent and 17.2 percent, to value 238 billion baht and 88.7 billion baht, respectively. Transit trade value with Vietnam and other countries fell by 1.3 percent to 172 billion baht.

Keerati pledged to accelerate negotiations with neighbouring countries to promote border trade by reopening more border checkpoints that were closed because of the outbreak. Only 39 of 97 border checkpoints are reopened./.