ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Myanmar trade ties in the spotlight
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn will fly to Nay Pyi Taw to attend a Joint Trade Commission meeting between Thailand and Myanmar from Jan 14-15.
This seventh meeting will seek ways to raise bilateral trade to US$10-12 billion in 2017.
Mrs Apiradi said it would also underscore cooperation in facilitating trade and investment between the countries, address investment-related rules and regulations and strengthen partnerships of key border city pairs such as Mae Sot and Myawaddy.
Thailand will propose setting up a joint business council with the neighbouring country that would comprise members from both the private and the government sectors, she said.
Discussions will focus on quality control and facilitation of farm products in the border areas, especially maize.
Conditions and import periods must be mutually agreed to prevent harm to Thai farmers while at the same time helping Myanmar farmers.
The Thai and Myanmar commerce ministers will look for ways to build up cooperation in transport infrastructure and logistics development and partnerships in finance and banking.
They will also discuss speeding up development of the Dawei deep-sea port and industrial economic zone along with other economic zone projects.
On the tourism front, Thailand and Myanmar plan to join hands to initiate joint tourism campaigns and routes in a move to connect the two cultures and raise local incomes in both countries.
Thailand will also propose providing technical assistance and human resource development to Myanmar.
The neighbouring country is Thailand's sixth-largest trading partner in Asean and 17th largest overall.
Over the past five years, two-way trade between the two has averaged $6.8 billion a year, with annual growth of 14.1%.
In 2014, two-way trade amounted to $8.16 billion, with exports from Thailand making up $4.24 billion and imports from Myanmar worth $3.92 billion.
For the first 10 months of last year, the latest figures available, two-way trade totalled $6.58 billion, a slight drop of 1.15% year-on-year.
For Thailand, exports amounted to $3.44 billion and imports $3.15 billion.
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