BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The Thai Chamber of Commerce recently raised concerns that the China-Laos railway will hurt Thailand’s agricultural economy and the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
TCC fears the Nong Khai checkpoint will become a gateway for Chinese fruits and vegetables.
Pointing out that the checkpoint is not officially open for trade yet, national strategy and defence specialist Dr Chaiyasit Tantayakul said the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is in talks with relevant Chinese authorities to find solutions.
The aim of the talks is to solve problems hampering Sino-Thai trade, like difficult customs clearance problems for fruit from Thailand.
He added that the ministry is also working on maintaining a balance of imports and exports between the two countries. For instance, if 100 containers arrive from China, then the same number of containers should head to China.
The two sides are currently concentrating on the export of orchids and rubber to China via the new railway, while the export of fruit will be discussed early next year ahead of the fruit season.
Chaiyasit said if no conclusion is arrived at, then the Mohan checkpoint in Yunnan and the Youyiguan checkpoint in Guangxi will continue being congested.
Thai fruit and vegetable traders realise that China is fast becoming a key export market, and for them to meet demands, he said the government should expedite the upgrading of infrastructure for cargo as well as cross-border transport.
Thai SMEs, however, are at a disadvantage, he said.
In the first nine months of 2021, Thai SMEs’ exports to China were worth 184.49 billion baht, while their imports from China came in at 454.89 billion. Thailand’s total import from China in the first nine months stood at 1.7 trillion baht.