MMI Research 22

Trade and Intermodal Transportation in Quadrangle Economic Zone

by Ms. Sumalee Sukdanont in 1998 *(The Full Text view in Thai Language only)*


            The present study was undertaken to assess the present situation pertaining to the trade among the four countries of the Economic Quadrangle : e.g. China (southern part), Laos Peoples Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand. Trade routes currently used were identified. The study was based on trade data collected at border crossings and subjective interviews of traders, exporters and importers and provincial trade councils in Thailand. Transport study was extensively conducted in Laos PDR and Laos-Thai border area, with the views of gate-way, trade facilitation, future migration of industries to area where labour costs are more competitive.
            The trend of Thai trade with the three countries has been on the increase: total trade reached in 2538 BE 117,794 million baht; Thai-China trade leading with 93,054 million baht followed by Thai-Myanmar and Thai-Laos at 14,170 and 10,570 million baht repectively. The proportion of total trade are 79:12:9. Thai majore exports to China were para-rubber, cane sugar, rice, fresh and frozen aqatic food, computers and computer components. Thai exports to Myanmar and Laos PDR mostly comprised industrial products: motor cycles and components, cloth, steel and steel products.
            Border trade, in the same period, amounted to a total of 16,932 million baht. The Thai trade with Unnan (with no common border), Myanmar and Laos PDR stood at 743, 5,905 and 10,284 million baht. Thai-China trade mostly still was conducted by South China-sea, with chinese coastal and international ports thanks to the lack of bilateral agreements for through cargo-traffics with Myanmar and Laos PDR. Two-way trade via Mekong river in the north-south directions were minimal as natural obstacles constituting navigational hazards were not yet overcome, besides the navigation treaty in this international water has yet to be signed by the member governments.
            Field trips indicated the lack of readiness of arterial roads in Laos PDR, especially the highways No. 13, No. 1 and No. 2 in northern part of the country were in need of rehabilitation as these were built since late 60s and early 70s. It was doubtful that the present economic conditions would permit Laos PDR to maintain these major highways once rehabilitated by international funds as there are no mechanism in situ to collect tolls or indeed any incomes derived from through-trade which can be channeled into maintenance budgets. However, trade-route through Laos PDG will have to be evaluated in the light of other alternatives e.g. Yunnan-Myanmar-Bay of Bengal, Yunnan-Kuangsi ports and Yunnan-Haiphong/kuangnin ports in Vietnam.

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