Latest ASEAN news

ASEAN-BAC urges concrete action

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) urged policymakers to take concrete action on trade facilitation, connectivity and digital transformation during its online dialogue session with ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) on Wednesday.

ASEAN-BAC Chair Neak Oknha Kith Meng urged the AEM to implement critical reforms which are crucial for the realisation of the 2025 ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Strategic Blueprint, the five to six perfect annual trajectory growth of ASEAN and ASEAN as the fourth largest economy in the world by 2030.

He also urged economic ministers to push for full Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) participation of all 10 ASEAN member states, as well as for a green and sustainable economic recovery.

He emphasised that the private and public sectors should work closely to address challenges together to realise the ASEAN aspiration.

Meanwhile, Legislative Council member and Co-Chair of the ASEAN-BAC 2022 Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman updated the AEM on the Harnessing Impact With Resilient Employability Digitally (HIRED) legacy project and the Chairmanship 2021 report.

She said three initiatives in the pipeline are data analytics pilot programme working bilaterally with United Kingdom’s (UK)-Department for International trade, launching of a private sector page on the in collaboration with GIZ RECOTVET and SEAMEO Voctech, and seeking endorsement support from the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on micro, small and medium enterprises (ACCMSME) in expanding the project across the region.

Date of Release: 20 March 2020

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Strengthening the ASEAN economy

ASEAN Economic Ministers endorsed a proposal by Cambodia for ‘priority economic deliverables’ during the 28th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Retreat held via video conferencing on Wednesday, according to a statement by the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE).

Cambodia’s proposal is divided into four strategic thrusts: enhancing digital connectivity, science and technology; narrowing the development gap for ASEAN’s competitiveness; promoting a more integrated, inclusive, resilient and competitive ASEAN; and strengthening global ASEAN for growth and development, said the MoFE.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN Secretariat also shared the region’s economic outlook where gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2021 and between 5.1-5.8 per cent for 2022.

The meeting noted that several ASEAN member states will soon re-open borders and shift towards endemic stage policies of handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministers reaffirmed the need for continued close cooperation for supply chain resilience and enhanced cross-sectoral collaboration on areas of digitalisation and sustainability, particularly through regional initiatives undertaken through the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap on Digital Transformation of ASEAN (BSBR) and Expansion of the List of Essential Goods under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the Implementation of Non-Tariff Measures on Essential Goods under the Hanoi Plan of Action.

The meeting also called for the acceleration of the implementation of the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework (ATCAF) which can further facilitate the resumption of travel across borders.

The meeting also discussed the latest status of ASEAN’s free trade agreements (FTAs).

Date of Release: 18 March 2022

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Traveling to Thailand during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Thailand, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The basics

Thailand has recorded more than 23,000 deaths and over 3.21 million cases of Covid-19 as of March 15, 2022

On average, around 20,000-30,000 Covid-19 cases are reported per day as the Omicron variant continues to spread in the country.

On February 1, Thailand restarted its "Test & Go" program, allowing vaccinated international travelers from all countries to enter without lengthy quarantine restrictions. (Thailand temporarily suspended the program from December 22, 2021, citing the rising number of Omicron variant cases in the country.)

Those wanting to enter face several requirements, including proof of prepayment of one night of accommodation at a government-approved hotel on Day 1, where travelers must await the results of mandatory RT-PCR tests.

Travelers who have not been fully vaccinated are required to quarantine in an approved hotel for 10 days.

More information on the various entry programs can be found on the Tourism Authority of Thailand website.


What's on offer

Picture-perfect islands. Golden beaches with swaying palms. Ornate temples and lush forests. Thailand has long been the go-to destination for those after a no-nonsense, easy-on-the-eyes tropical break.


Who can go

Holders of US, Canada, UK and Australia passports are among those not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 45 days on each visit.

Tourists from countries not on the visa exemption list can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV), which allows for 90-day stays, and can be renewed twice. You must apply for an STV via the Thai consulate or embassy in your own country.


What are the entry restrictions?

All travelers need to apply for a "Thailand Pass" prior to their journey.

As part of the entry requirements for the "Test & Go" scheme, foreign tourists must provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $20,000.

All travelers need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Fully vaccinated international travelers can also travel to Thailand under the "Sandbox Program," meaning they need to stay for a minimum of seven days in one of several approved destinations including: Krabi, Phang-Na, Phuket, Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan or Ko Tao.

Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine at government-approved quarantine facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities for 10 days. This can include luxury hotels, some of which have developed quarantine packages.

A full list of participating hotels and resorts, along with package rates, can be found here:


What's the Covid situation?

For months, Thailand reported few locally transmitted Covid-19 cases thanks to strict quarantine on arrival rules.

However, the country was easing out of its third and worst wave of infections when the Omicron variant began to spread in January, leading to a swift increase in positive cases.

At the moment, the country is reporting around 20,000-30,000 new cases per day on average.


source : CNN

Thailand, Germany drive finance mechanisms to tackle climate change

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Office of National Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), in cooperation with German International Cooperation Organization (GIZ), organized a symposium titled “Thailand Climate Finance Conference: From International to Domestic Mechanism” with the aim of raising awareness about the significance of climate finance.

In his keynote address, Mr. Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resource and Environment, said Thailand still needs a lot of international support in terms of finance, investment, technology transfer, and capacity building, especially in advanced technology with a reduction in greenhouse gas emission. All sectors must be aware of the problem of climate change, which is now at an important turning point and must be addressed before the impact becomes irreversible.

Following Thailand’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065, it is pivotal that all sectors are aware of climate change financing mechanisms and sources of funding for climate action.

Mr. Hans-Ulrich Suebeck, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Economic Department, the Embassy of Germany in Thailand, stressed that Germany recognizes the significance of climate finance as a means of implementation to transform political climate commitments into real action, and that there is a need to collaborate and work as partners to address the climate crisis. The partnership involves also Germany and Thailand with their 160 years of relations.

In this event, the experience and policy direction to create enabling conditions were showcased through a panel discussion among ONEP, the Bank of Thailand, the Thailand Board of Investment, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). More than 200 representatives of government agencies, the private sector, the education sector, the public sector, and independent organizations attended the event.


source : National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT)

TAT and Thai Vietjet Air sign letter of intent to promote tourism to Thailand

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Thai Vietjet Air to work together in boosting tourist numbers to Thailand using the airline’s expanding route network, in particular from Vietnam and Cambodia.

The LoI was signed by Miss Sukanya Sirikanjanakul, TAT Executive Director for ASEAN South Asia and South Pacific Region, and Mr. Luong Truong An, Executive Vice President, Thai VietJet Air.

Also joining the event were distinguished delegates from Thai Vietjet Air, Mr. Woranate Laprabang, Chief Executive Officer, and from TAT, Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and South Pacific.

“The agreement sees TAT and Thai Vietjet Air become strategic partners in the creation and implementation of joint marketing and promotional activities that will focus on bringing quality inbound visitors to experience Thailand’s world-renowned tourism offerings, in line with the TAT’s latest campaign ‘Visit Thailand Year 2022: Amazing New Chapters’.”

Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and South Pacific

The TAT’s collaboration with Thai Vietjet Air envisions mutual benefit for both parties, and will also promote Thai Vietjet Air’s growing air links to Thailand and include joint travel agent and media familiarisation trips.


Thai Vietjet Air will operate the largest flight capacity between Vietnam and Thailand

Thai Vietjet Air will operate the largest flight capacity between Vietnam and Thailand when it doubles the frequency of its flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok – planned to happen this month – to up to six flights per week. The airline relaunched the route on 21 January, 2022, with twice weekly flights on Friday and Saturday.

Starting from 16 March, 2022, Thai Vietjet Air will increase air links between Cambodia and Thailand with the launch of a new Phnom Penh-Bangkok service. Also among Vietjet’s other regional routes to Thailand is a Taipei-Bangkok-Phuket service launched by Thai Vietjet Air on 30 November, 2021 – its first direct service from Taiwan to Thailand.

Domestically within Thailand, Thai Vietjet Air flies from Bangkok to numerous points around the country, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Krabi, Hat Yai, Surat Thani, Udon Thani, and Ubon Ratchathani.


source : Thailand Business News

Thai Economy Improved in February as Restrictions Eased

BANGKOK (NNT) – The Bank of Thailand has said the Thai economy improved in February following a moderate slow down the previous month, owing to an easing of coronavirus curbs and a resumption of a quarantine waiver for foreign tourists.

According to Chayawadee Chai-Anant, a senior BOT director, the Russia-Ukraine crisis is likely to push up inflation and cause global financial volatility, but Thailand’s external stability remains good.

She added that the impact of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases has been within estimates, while the momentum of a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter could help the economy grow more than the 3.4% earlier forecast for this year.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy expanded 1.6% last year, returning to growth in the final quarter of the year, following a 6.2% contraction in 2020.

Thailand resumed its quarantine waiver this month after a brief suspension imposed amid uncertainty about the severity of the Omicron variant, which slowed economic activity in January.

In January, private consumption dropped 0.4% from the previous month and private investment fell 0.7%.

Exports, a key driver of growth, rose at a much slower pace of 7.9% in January from a year earlier, with imports up 18.4% year-on-year, giving a trade surplus of $0.6 billion.

Thailand recorded a current account deficit of $2.2 billion in January after a deficit of $1.4 billion in December.


source : Thailand Business News

Thailand unveils schedule for APEC 2022 meetings

BANGKOK, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Thailand, the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2022, announced Thursday that the annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting will be held on Nov. 18-19 in Bangkok.

A series of meetings from Nov. 14, including the Concluding APEC Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) and APEC ministerial meeting, will precede the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, according to Thani Thongphakdi, permanent secretary for foreign affairs of Thailand and APEC 2022 SOM chair.

Entering the third year of the pandemic, economic recovery has become a matter of utmost urgency for all member economies, and "we must embrace inclusiveness and sustainability in our growth strategy, balancing between health, economy and the environment," said Thani.

The announcement was made after the conclusion of the first APEC SOM in 2022 last week, where participants from member economies reiterated their commitment to reinvigorating regional economic integration, reconnecting the region and reassuring sustainability for future growth.

In November 2021, Thailand took over the rotating chairmanship of the APEC from New Zealand, declaring the theme for APEC 2022 as "Open, Connect, Balance."


source : Xinhua

Thai 'land bridge' project caught in Sino-U.S. tug of war

BANGKOK -- The favorite candidate site for Thailand's envisioned new gateway to the Indian Ocean is a small peninsula jutting out into the Andaman Sea.

The Ao Ang district in Ranong Province in southwestern Thailand, located about 30 km south of the province's urban area, is mostly covered with primeval forest and can be accessed only by sea. But the backwater district is now attracting a growing number of people as a candidate site for a new port, said a fisherman operating the boat the writer chartered at a nearby village. It took an hour to sail to the area near the site.

Ao Ang, which was not widely known even to local residents, started attracting attention after Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in September 2020 ordered the Ministry of Transport to conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a "land bridge" across the Kra Isthmus to connect Chumphon Province, along the Gulf of Thailand on the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula, to Ranong. The plan is to build ports for large cargo ships in the two southern provinces, linking them with railways, highways and oil pipelines.

The route would also be linked to other railways and highways in Thailand, including those under construction. Special economic zones would be built around the ports to lure foreign investment.

The government of Prayuth, who has been in power for seven and a half years, has been pushing a huge infrastructure project dubbed the Eastern Economic Corridor as the centerpiece of its economic agenda. The undertaking is aimed at turning the coastal industrial zone in eastern parts of the nation into a hub of high-value-added industries. In August 2018, the government came up with the Southern Economic Corridor initiative to capitalize on natural resources in southern Thailand, such as rubber and palm trees.

The land bridge project would be the main driver of infrastructure development in southern parts of the nation.

There is a commercial port in Ranong, but its seafloor is only 8 meters deep and its hinterland is narrow. Of six candidate sites being considered for the plan to build a new deep-water port in the province, Ao Ang is considered the favorite. The water is as deep as 16 meters and there is a vast tract of flat land behind it that is suitable to build a special economic zone.

"The port would offer a new maritime trade route linking Thailand to Japan, China and Vietnam in the east and to India, the Middle East and Europe in the west," said Pornsak Kaewthavor, head of the Ranong Chamber of Commerce. "Through integrated operations of the eastern and western ports as a transport node connecting the Pacific with the Indian Ocean, Thailand could become a trade hub like Singapore," he said.

There is a strong case for building a new transport route between Chumphon and Ranong because it would cross the Kra Isthmus, the narrowest part of the Malay Peninsula. The envisioned ports are only about 90 km apart.

Building a trade route cutting across the peninsula is an old idea but there is now a fresh wave of interest in this vision. There are two main approaches to the challenge.

One is digging a canal across the Malay Peninsula, an idea that has been around since the 17th century. Currently, a lobbying organization for retired military officers in southern Thailand is championing this approach. But it would be expensive, with an estimated construction cost of over $25 billion, and pose tough technological challenges. Since the surface of the Andaman Sea is about 3 meters higher than that of the Gulf of Thailand, multiple lock gates would need to be built to adjust water levels in the canal for ships to pass through. Moreover, the canal could not be very wide. Some critics say that artificially dividing the nation with a canal could violate the Thai constitution, which says "Thailand is one and indivisible Kingdom."

The other approach is building a land bridge. In the 1990s, the proposal was made to construct a large port at a location farther south of Ranong that could accommodate oil tankers, along with a pipeline to carry oil across the peninsula to a new petrochemical complex to be built on the east coast. But the proposal failed to materialize, as Thailand was engulfed in the Asian currency crisis in 1997. Later, the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra considered the project but soon abandoned the idea.

The newly envisioned land bridge is estimated to cost around $3 billion, a tenth of the canal's price tag. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has stressed the economic benefits of the new trade route, saying it would pave the way for Thailand to "become Southeast Asia's 'economic tiger cub' again." But many questions remain about its economic viability.

The principal selling point of the proposed land bridge is that it would shorten the distance that cargo ships carrying goods between East Asia and the Middle East and Europe have to travel, by letting them bypass the Malacca Strait.

A total of 85,000 ships passed through the strait in 2018, according to the Thai Transport Ministry. The number is projected to grow to up to 128,000 within 10 years, possibly surpassing the estimated limit of 122,000 vessels for the key trade route. Excessive congestion would increase the risks of delays and collisions.

The land bridge would not just help avoid such risks but also shorten the travel distance by 1,200 km and cut the time by about two days. But using the land bridge would involve transshipping cargo from ships to trains or trucks and then onto ships again.

Some experts are skeptical about the economics of the land bridge.

"The approach would not make sense unless smooth and swift transshipping between ships and land vehicles is guaranteed," said an executive at a Japanese shipping company. "One or two days can be easily wasted through delays. The land bridge wouldn't be cost-competitive against the Malacca route, which does not involve transshipping."

Suwat Nualkaw, associate dean for administration at the College of Logistics and Supply Chain at Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, argues that both routes could be used, each for different types of cargo. "Which is used would be determined according to such factors as the added value of the cargo as well as the cost, time and reliability of transportation," he said. "The Malacca Strait could be used to transport rice and cement, for instance, and the land bridge for electronic parts. I think there is an 80% chance of the project materializing."

The project to construct a new transportation route connecting the Indian Ocean with the Pacific inevitably has strategic ramifications for the bitter rivalry between the U.S. and China over influence in Asia.

Immediately after the feasibility study for the project began in September 2020, some officials at the U.S. Embassy in Thailand visited Ranong and warned local business leaders that China's involvement would not bring economic benefits to the local communities.

The following year, executives at the state-owned company China Railway Construction traveled to the Thai province. China is working with the Thai government in a project to build high-speed train lines connecting Bangkok with northeastern and eastern parts of Thailand. Local officials who met the executives said the Chinese showed strong interest in taking part in the land bridge project.

China is seeking to build a pan-Asian railway network that runs through the Indochina Peninsula as an alternative route to sea lanes passing through the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, in case a security crisis occurs in those places. The land bridge could serve as an important segment of such a route.

The U.S. fears that the new large Thai ports planned for the project would come under the influence of Beijing, following the fate of Sri Lanka's port in Hambantota, Pakistan's Gwadar Port and Myanmar's port in Kyaukphyu. Washington is concerned that China will use these facilities for military purposes.

The tug of war between the U.S. and China over the land bridge project shows the difficulties -- as well as the opportunities -- Japan faces in committing itself in infrastructure projects in Thailand.

When Bangkok embarked on the Southern Economic Corridor initiative in August 2018, a senior official of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry proposed to the Thai government to carry out the project through cooperation between Japan and China.

The administration of then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was exploring ways to pursue joint infrastructure projects with Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative. The Abe administration was racing to find high-profile candidates prior to his scheduled meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in October that year. But nothing concrete emerged from Tokyo's proposal to Bangkok, as there were still many conflicting visions for the Southern Economic Corridor. As the confrontation between the U.S. and China intensified, the momentum for the joint initiative was lost.

A senior Japanese government official admits that currently there is no strong interest in the land bridge in either the public or the private sector. For Japanese companies with operations in eastern parts of Thailand, however, it is vital to secure reliable transportation access to the Indian Ocean.

Japan once saw great potential in Myanmar's Dawei, 300 km west of Bangkok, and worked hard to reach an agreement with Myanmar and Thailand on joint development of the region in 2015. But the project stagnated, and last year's military coup in Myanmar dashed hopes for any progress.

Japan's interest in Dawei was based on its strategic goal of preventing China from making inroads into the region, and Ranong, on the west coast along the Andaman Sea, could serve as an ideal substitute for Dawei. In fact, many pundits in Thailand think Japan could play a major role in the land bridge project.

"Given the need to strike a balance between the U.S. and China, Japan could be the ideal partner" for the land bridge project, said Suwat of Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University.

But the clock is ticking. The Thai government is expected to complete its feasibility study on the project by 2023.

source : NIKKIE Asia 

Thailand approves tax cut on diesel to ease high prices

BANGKOK, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday agreed to cut the excise tax on diesel by 3 baht ($0.0927) per litre, from 5.99 baht currently, for three months to help mitigate the impact of high energy prices, The tax cut will reduce revenue by 17 billion baht ($526 million), but that should be partially offset by a rise in other tax revenue as the economy is recovering, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a news conference.

"The tax is necessary as the government has extended the cap of diesel prices at 30 baht per litre until the end of May," he said.

But the country's oil fund, which stabilises domestic prices, is still unable to borrow 30 billion baht as earlier approved by the cabinet, Arkhom said.

The tax cut will give the energy ministry flexibility in keeping retail fuel prices not exceeding 30 baht per litre, said deputy finance minister Santi Promphat. ($1 = 32.33 baht)


source : Reuters

Baht reverses losses to claim title as emerging Asia haven

The baht is emerging as an unlikely haven in developing Asia as optimism about the nation’s tourism sector buoys inflows.

The region’s worst-performing currency in 2021 has vaulted to the top of the rankings this year on bets that a quarantine-free visa programme will kick-start the travel industry. That’s limiting the fallout from geopolitical risks and expectations for aggressive US rate hikes.

The baht’s strength is in marked contrast to the losses recorded by most of its regional peers this year, and should allay the central bank’s fears of excessive volatility which could hurt growth. Thai stocks and bonds have reeled in $6.2 billion in 2022, exceeding the amount pumped into other emerging Asian economies.

“There is talk that the baht is a bit of a safe haven,” said Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of capital market research at Kasikornbank Plc in Bangkok.  “Thailand is a net creditor country for over 10 years now,” meaning it has more foreign-exchange reserves than external debt, he said.

The currency has climbed about 3% versus the greenback this year to beat all its regional peers. It rose to 32.303 per dollar on Tuesday, the strongest since September, after breaching the 32.50 psychological level the previous day.

Kasikornbank’s Kobsidthi says the baht could climb to 32.24 before the week is out. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts is for the currency to advance to 32.1 by year-end.

The government expects between 200,000 and 300,000 travellers to take advantage of its quarantine-free visa program for the fully vaccinated in February alone, with the numbers expected to swell in the following months. About a fifth of gross domestic product was derived from tourism-related activities before the pandemic.


source : Bangkok Post

Feature: China-Thailand Railway signals connectivity, opportunity, prosperity

BANGKOK, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- "When the China-Thailand railway starts operation, it will enable Thai people to travel more conveniently and boost Thailand's economic growth," said Trin Phuanglamchiak.

As the deputy chief engineer of a section of the railway in Ayutthaya Province, 80 km north of Bangkok, Phuanglamchiak noted there are "advanced railway technologies that China brings to Thailand."

The China-Thailand railway, an important part of the trans-Asian railway network, will be Thailand's first standard-gauge railway.

When completed, the line will carry trains from Bangkok to the border town of Nong Kai, where a new bridge will connect it with the China-Laos railway, making it possible to travel by train from Bangkok, through Laos, to Kunming in southwest China's. Yunnan Province.

"Once the railway is open, I would like to take a train from my hometown Bangkok all the way north to Kunming. Then I'll take my family to visit the Great Wall in Beijing," said Phuanglamchiak, who works for the China State. Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd.

"We are pleased to see the construction of the China-Thailand railway continue apace. We hope China's state-of-the-art railway technology will help us develop railway infrastructure," said Pichet Kunadhamraks, deputy director-general of the department of rail. transport.

A Sino-Thai high-speed rail training program gave Kantithat Danaut, 24, the chance to take Chinese lessons with the Confucius Institute at Khon Kaen University.

He went to Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province for an eight-month course on high-speed railway technology. Kantithat then went to Japan as an intern, but hoped to go back to China to continue his studies after finishing the internship.

"I want to bring what I have learned about Chinese technology back to serve Thailand," Kantithat told Xinhua.

"Thailand needs new development opportunities. The China-Thailand railway will not only benefit Thai industries ranging from tourism, services to trade and investment, but also boost economic development in the region," said Tharakorn Wusatirakul, deputy director of the Thailand-China Belt. and Road cooperation research center.

"The China-Laos railway has inaugurated a new era for Laos. Thailand, if not being able to accelerate the construction of the railway project, will miss out on the opportunity," Tharakorn said.


source : Xinhua

Laos Eyes USD 1.55 Billion Trade Surplus for 2022

The Lao government is hoping for a trade surplus of at least USD 1.55 billion in 2022, despite the economic challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a recent report from the Prime Minister’s Office, exports are expected to reach 7.6 billion US dollars, while imports will total 6.05 billion US dollars, Vientiane Times reports.

To achieve this, the government has committed to increasing agricultural production and processing of items for export, particularly to China, whose markets can now be accessed more readily via the China-Laos railway.

Xinhua reports that the sectors involved have been tasked with assisting enterprises in obtaining financing, applying research and technology to production, and assisting manufacturers in sourcing appropriate markets.

The government has been attempting to build up foreign currency reserves by boosting exports and reducing its reliance on imports.

Laos reported a surprising USD 1 billion trade surplus in 2021, with exports valued at USD 7 billion and imports worth USD 6 billion.

For the full article, please click

Source: The Laotian Times