More cross-border activities to enhance Malaysia-Thai bilateral trade

KUALA LUMPUR: Encouraging greater cross-border trade and investments will help both Malaysia and Thailand in achieving US$30 billion (US$1 = RM4.29) worth of bilateral trade by 2018, said the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM).

Vice-president Datuk Liew Sew Yee said the Thailand Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade (TCC/BOT) had submitted proposals to boost border trade, which accounted for over 60 per cent of the current trade between both countries.

He said they have proposed for a 24-hour custom operation at the border to facilitate movement of goods.

“Both countries should also improve facilities such as transportation and logistic infrastructure at the border to further improve trade. We will study these requests and speak to the government,” he told reporters after a visit by a 60-member trade delegation from the chamber and the board yesterday.

During the half-day visit,  delegation members were briefed by NCCIM on investment opportunities in Malaysia and the local halal market including networking sessions.

Yee said trade with Thailand, the country’s fifth largest trading partner, amounted to US$20.83 billion in 2016, and Malaysia-Thailand border trade accounted for over 60 per cent of this figure.

The border trade brings in an average of US$14.4 billion annually, he said.

Thailand mainly exports petroleum, auto and computer parts, food products and electrical appliances to Malaysia while Malaysia’s exports comprised crude petroleum, transport equipment, steel products, processed food and, chemicals and chemical products, said Yee.

He said Asean border trade activities – such as the border trade fairs held in Hatyai in 2015 by the Thai government and in Kelantan last year by the  Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation should be turned into an annual event.

Yee also said while Thailand was a top global food exporter, the issue of halal status was the key reason preventing food products from the kingdom to penetrate the Malaysian market. — Bernama

Thai entrepreneurs should emulate many multinational companies that have invested in obtaining halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia and set up their hub in Malaysia to convince local consumers, he said.

Meanwhile, NCCIM Secretary-General Datuk Seri Syed Hussien Al Habshee said this year’s border trade fair will be held in Thailand.

He also said the TCC/BOC delegation had reiterated their proposal to build a bridge to connect Golok in Thailand to Rantau Panjang in Kelantan, on a shared-cost basis, in order to create more opportunities to boost border trade, he said. — BERNAMA

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