Thai govt developing customs checkpoints, facilities in South

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SONGKHLA, July 22 – The government is proceeding with developing customs checkpoints and related facilities in South to accommodate future border trade increase after the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, said Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong.

The minister has inspected the Sadao customs checkpoint in Songkhla, where the annual trade value was last recorded at 300 billion baht.

It is expected to increase by 100 billion baht to some 400 billion baht in the year after the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

As trucks queued at the border checkpoint for many kilometres, Mr Kittiratt said the border check point needs to be expanded. A new customs checkpoint was planned on 264 acres of land with a 650 million baht budget.

Negotiations need to be completed with local residents who have settled on state land for years. So far, more than half have cooperated and it is expected that construction will start soon, he added.

Other facilities and infrastructure must be improved to service trade with neighbouring Malaysia, including construction of double rail tracks, 56-kilometer motorway from Hat Yai to the Sadao checkpoints, and a 130-kilometre road extension from Phetchkasem to Ranong Port to serve trade with Myanmar’s Koh Song.

Trade at the southern borders accounted for 60 percent of the country’s border trade.