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Friday December 7, 2012

Boon for cross-border trade

CROSS-BORDER traders can look forward to submitting regulatory documents simultaneously to both Malaysian and Thai authorities with the implementation of a single-window system soon.

Thai Consul Chonasut Wudthiwongse said this would expedite processing time and enable faster flow of goods and people at the Malaysia-Thai border.

He said authorities from both countries had met several times on the proposal and the progress so far was promising.

“We are still at the planning stage. We have a few policies and legal gaps to bridge, but cooperation between the customs and immigration authorities of both countries is smooth and we hope to be able to set up a trial run soon,” he said.

The introduction of the system is in line with the Asean Single Window initiative that was first developed in 2005.

A single-window system is a trade facilitation idea that allows border authorities of two countries to jointly receive single submissions of documents such as customs declarations, import or export permit applications, phytosanitary, health and veterinary certificates.

It shortens processing time for the benefit of traders and re-duces the cost of goods.

Speaking to The Star at the Thai Consulate’s dinner celebration of the 85th anniversary of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej at G Hotel in Penang on Wednesday night, he added that the Thai government was also planning to improve the system on the Sadao-side to increase the efficiency of its border services.

Chonasut also said that the Thai government was planning to create a heritage trail on Penang island to mark the sites to show the historical connection between Thailand and Penang.

The project, dubbed the ‘Siamese Heritage Trail’, will mark former residences and tombs of ancient Thai royalty who had made Penang their home.

Thai Consul-General Voradet Viravakin, who was also present, said the Thai government would build commemorative plaques to mark these sites.

Also present was Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Voradet, who has served in Penang for three years, will vacate his office today and return to Thailand to take up the post of director-general of the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs.

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