Mekong Monitor


Photo credit: The Nation

 

TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT

 

THAILAND-CLMV

EXIM Thailand to continue supporting Thai SME expansion to CLMV markets
(3 May 2019) Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand) president Pisit Serewiwattana reiterated the state-owned institution’s commitment to supporting Thai SME (small and medium enterprises) exports to neighbouring CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) markets, even if the bank has to continue shouldering a portion of the funding costs. Serewiwattana said that the bank was willing to do so as they were “optimistic” about the CLMV subregion’s economic outlook. Furthermore, Thailand’s exports to CLMV markets are projected to rise by double digits in 2019, building on its 16.6% growth momentum in 2018. According to Serewiwattana, capital goods such as mechanical devices and parts, agricultural machines and construction materials, and consumer goods such as garments, fruits and goods were earmarked as high-potential export goods to the CLMV region.
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THAILAND

Thailand’s Q1 cross-border trade records 1.86% growth
(3 May 2019) Thai cross-border trade recorded an overall 1.86% increase in the first quarter of 2019, reaching US$10.76 billion, according to the country’s Department of Foreign Trade director-general Adul Chotinisakorn. Of the sum, its exports saw a 0.49% increase reaching US$6.04 billion, while its imports recorded a 3.66% increase amounting to US$4.72 billion. Furthermore, Thai border trade with Myanmar reached US$1.59 billion, US$1.51 billion with Laos, US$1.32 billion with Cambodia and US$588 million with Vietnam. Myanmar was Thailand’s second largest trading partner, behind Malaysia, which had a border trade value of US$4.39 billion. According to Chotinisakorn, the rise in border trade can be attributed to recent trade promotion activities such as the Four Border Regions Trade Expo to promote border and special economic zone trade, as well as SME business matching events in provinces along the Thai-Myanmar border.
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CAMBODIA

Cambodia launches new version of trade strategy to strengthen its competitiveness
(5 May 2019) Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce launched the fourth Cambodia Trade Integration Strategy (CTIS) for the 2019-2023 period recently. According to commerce minister Pan Sorasak, the new strategy aims to address all major issues in the trade sector, facilitate the country’s transition into a developed economy by strengthening the country’s competitiveness, and prepare the country for growth opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, all ministries are expected to participate in the new strategy in order to boost the country’s competitiveness, diversify its markets to increase exports, and help realise the government’s rectangular growth strategy.
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LAOS

Laos posts US$5.41 billion in export earnings in 2019, with Thailand as largest trading partner
(6 May 2019) Laos’ overall export revenue totalled US$5.41 billion in 2018, according to the latest statistics published by the Laotian Ministry of Industry and Trade. Of the sum, US$1.31 billion were derived from exports traded under preferential trade frameworks such as the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) and other free trade agreements. According to the ministry’s statistics, Laos’ top export destinations in the Mekong subregion were Thailand (US$425.86 million) and Vietnam (US$332.85 million). Furthermore, Thailand was also the country’s top Mekong import source with US$329.04 million worth of goods imported last year, followed by China (US$79.58 million) and Vietnam (US$76.39 million). The country’s top exports were industrial goods, agricultural products, and minerals, while its imports were mainly machinery and parts, construction materials, and garments and home utensils.
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MYANMAR

Myanmar’s overseas trade reaches US$19.9 billion in seven months of the 2018/2019 fiscal year
(4 May 2019) Myanmar’s overseas trade amounted to US$19.9 billion in the first seven months of the 2018/2019 fiscal year, an increase of almost US$700 million from the same period in the previous fiscal year, according to the latest figures published by its Commerce Ministry. Of the sum, exports accounted for US$9.6 billion while imports exceeded US$10.3 billion, resulting in a US$700 million trade deficit. More specifically, the country’s maritime trade accounted for US$13.9 billion of total trade, with exports transported over the sea reaching US$5.3 billion and imports amounting to US$8.65 billion. Myanmar’s border trade measured at US$5.99 billion in the same period. According to the ministry, the country’s key exports were agricultural, animal, fisheries, minerals and forest products, while its key imports were capital goods, intermediate goods and consumer goods.
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About Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Programme was launched by the Asian Development Bank in 1992 connecting five developing ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. The region has some of the most robust economies sharing the Mekong River Basin thanks to its reform and liberalisation. The subregion is growing at a faster pace than the whole of East Asia and the Asia Pacific as the GDP growth rate for 2017 was at 6.4 percent, according to the World Bank. The population at the subregion as of 2016 is at 340 million while the GDP at PPP is at US$3.1 trillion in 2016. In 2015, trading within the region was at US$444 billion.