THAILAND and Myanmar are set to double bilateral trade to between Bt350 billion and Bt420 billion (S$13.8 billion and S$16.6 billion) within two years, while also promoting cross-border trade to Bt300 billion, under closer co-operation through the Joint Trade Commission (JTC) and ASEAN integration.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said yesterday that the countries would strengthen ties in trade, investment and other forms of co-operation, which should help promote trade and investment growth between the two neighbours.
The proposals for enhanced co-operation will be discussed during the upcoming seventh meeting of the JTC, to be held in Nay Pyi Taw from January 14-15. Apiradi will lead the Thai delegation, while Myanmar's trade minister will chair the meeting.
Besides setting trade targets, the ministers will also seek further co-operation in banking and financing in a bid to use local exchange rates for trading between the two countries.
They will also exchange information on trade rules and regulations, increase co-operation at cross-border checkpoints and discuss how to upgrade the checkpoints so that Thailand and Myanmar can achieve increased trade growth, Apiradi said.
Other discussions during the JTC meeting will be about logistics, trading of farm crops, co-operation among commercial banks, accelerating the Dawei special economic zones, tourism promotion, and the development of human resources, she added.
Apiradi said Thailand and Myanmar would emphasise increased collaboration along their joint border, as cross-border commerce accounted for 80 per cent of overall trade value between the countries.
The neighbours will also set up a Thai-Myanmarese Business Council for increasing collaboration between the two countries' private sectors.
According to Commerce Ministry data, Myanmar is Thailand's sixth-largest trading partner in ASEAN, and its seventh-largest in the world.
During the past five years, bilateral trade has been worth US$6.8 billion (Bt246 billion) on average, representing an increase of 14 per cent over the period. In 2014, trade was valued US$8.15 billion, with exports from Thailand worth US$4.23 billion (S$6 billion). In the first 10 months of last year, bilateral trade came in at US$6.58 billion.
The Commerce Ministry will today hold a meeting to estimate the potential impact from the current conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.