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Thai-Burma border trade booms

The original Friendship Bridge between Mae Sot in Thailand and Burma's Myawaddy. (Photo: DVB)

Cross-border trade between Thailand and Burma through the Mae Sot-Myawaddy checkpoint totalled more than 60 billion in the fiscal year just ended, a rise of 12.3 percent over the 2013-2014 year, a senior customs official said on Thursday.

Kitti Sutthisamphan, chief of Tak’s Mae Sot customs checkpoint, attributed  the increase to the opening of the Mae Sot-Myawaddy-Kawkareik route and preparations for the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community in December.

The annual report from Mae Sot customs said cross-border trade in the 2015 fiscal year ending 30 September stood at 66.8 billion baht (US$1,811 million). Trends pointed to future increases continuing.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha earlier announced a policy to increase cross-border trade to 100-200 billion baht a year. He made the projection during an inspection of the special border economic development zone in Mae Sot district early in September.

The border district is a major gateway to Burma and handles the majority of land-based trade between the two countries. It is also a key point on the East-West Economic Corridor, where transport routes between Thailand and Burma meet.

Thai exports to Burma include mobile phones, beer, petrol and diesel. Imported goods from Burma include cattle, peanuts and minerals.

This article was republished with full permission from Bangkok Post.