Trade boost expected from 4th Thai-Lao bridge

The opening of the fourth friendship bridge over the Mekong River between Thailand and Laos on Dec 11 is expected to lower costs and significantly boost border trade between the two countries.

The bridge links Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai in Thailand with Huay Sai town and Bokeo province in northern Laos.

Installation of equipment at Chiang Khong customs office is almost complete and will be ready for the opening  next Wednesday, which will be presided over by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, according to a report in Matichon.

Sornchai Sroipongphrai, chief of Chiang Khong customs office, said border trade at this checkpoint was estimated at 13.6 billion baht this year, up almost 9% on 12.5 billion baht in 2012.

He said opening of the new bridge would reduce the cost per container to only 500 baht, instead of the 1,800 baht now charged by ferry operators.

His office projects the value of goods that will be exported through Chiang Khong will rise to 17 billion baht in 2015.

Pattana Sitthisombat, chairman of a coordination committee of 10 northern provincial chambers of commerce, said the new bridge will greatly facilitate transport of cargo from Thailand to China along Route 3A, that links Laos to Xishuangbanna and Yunnan province in China.

China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand have a joint development project known as the economic quadrangle, under the Greater Mekong Sub-region cooperation agreement. 

He said the new bridge will increase traffic through Chiang Khong, particularly tourists from China.

Mr Pattana was optimistic that border trade with Laos through Chiang Rai would increase to over 100 billion baht a year, up from 30-40 billion baht, after the Asean Economic Community is launched in 2015.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 07/12/2013 at 02:52 PM
I've been tracking the most of the ASEAN economies full time since the 1970's. And I have done as much research as I can on AEC 2015. I don't understand at all what AEC 2015 has to do with trade on the Laos border, let alone how Thailand will benefit much more than it already does through trade within the region. I especially do not understand why Thailand would become attractive for immigrants suddenly as growth rates in it's ASEAN neighbors are much higher than here and there has been zero progress on opening up employment rules for non Thai nationals. Please explain what I am missing.
Discussion 2 : 07/12/2013 at 01:54 PM
Incoming Chinese goods and tourists. Outgoing rice?
Discussion 3 : 07/12/2013 at 11:08 AM
Good news at last.

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