MMI Research 25

An Analysis of the Impacts of Economics Crisis on Trade and Transport in Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle : Thailand-Malaysia Case

by  Ms. Sumalee Sukdanont 1999 *(The Full Text view in Thai Language only)*


    This study was conducted to assess the impacts of economics crisis which occurred during 1996-1997 on trade and trasnport in Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).It emphasised only on Malaysia and Thailand. The study was based upon basic economics data; the amount of cross border trade and the volume of cargoes transported between the two countries. Field-trips were made to the 5 provinces in the southern part of Thailand , namely Songkha, Satul, Pattani, Naratiwas, Yala and Penang. Interviews were conducted on individuals and organisations in the aforementioned area.

    The economics crisis had affected the three countries in the IMT-GT. Thailand and Indonesia were affected so drastically that both had to require technical and financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund. However, it did not affect the formal cross border trade or the trade that passed through customs formality of the two countries. The trade had increased steadily sicnce 1995. In 1997 the largest increase of trade amount were 42% of the previous year. For the informal cross border trade, it was slightly affected at the beginning. This was due to the unstalilised curency of the two countries. When they were stabilised, it benefited the Thai trade because Thai Baht was depreciated when compared to Malaysian Ringgit.

    The crisis did not affect the trade between Thailand and Indonesia as well. From 1995-1998 the trade vale of the two countries increased continuously. The trade value of 1996 was higher than of 1995 30.4% and the trade value of 1997 was higher than of 1996 36.4%. The trade value of 1998 seemed to slow down, however, it was 19% higher than of the previous year.

    Some development projects such as bridge construction at Wang District in Naratiwas had to be suspended because of the economics problem. The crisis had an impact on the IMT-GT project as a whole since Indonesia which had been affected severely had to abruptly cease the project.

    Morever it was found that the obstacles tothe cross border trade and transport development beteween Thailand and Malaysia were mostly caused by the differences in laws, regulations and agreements which disadvantaged the Thai private sectors. The competition beteween the two main gates for international trade of the area, Songkhla Port and Penang Prot , the Thai port seemed to be less competitive.

    Even though the IMT-GT project had been implemented since 1993, a few improvement had been seen. This was because the Thai government did not seriously and sincerely support the project. Several development projects did not serve the needs of the locals, hence they were not truly beneficial.

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