By improving the capacity of its multimodal infrastructure and preparing facilities to meet the growing global demand for high-tech goods and services, Thailand expects investment and development in various industries to flourish over the coming decades. .
Building on its strategic location in the middle of the Indochina region, the accelerated pace of economic integration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and the subsequent improvement in the flow of goods, services and people across the region are creating new opportunities for Thailand’s manufacturing sector. , tourism and services.
When the Boten-Vientiane Railway (China-Laos Railway) opens in December 2021, it will mark a significant step forward in the Trans-Asian Railway1 in its quest to become a fully integrated transportation platform connecting the Asia and the Pacific.
The 414 km long Boten-Vientiane Railway connects the Chinese Yuxi-Mohan Railway in the north with the existing metric gauge railway, which connects Boten in northern Laos to Vientiane, before crossing Thailand at Thanaleng and to continue to Nong Khai in the northeastern region of Thailand, and finally to Bangkok. The railway will cut travel times from Yunnan to Nong Khai to 3 p.m., compared to two days by road.
In addition to reducing costs and improving logistics efficiency, the rail route will increase GMS access to Chinese markets and create new opportunities for tourism and the service sector. Thailand’s plan to build a high-speed train line connecting Bangkok initially to Nakhon Ratchasima, scheduled to open in 2026, and later to Nong Khai, scheduled for completion in 2028, will strengthen Thailand’s ability to take advantage of better connectivity across the GMS and China Market. The construction plan will include warehouses and transport yards to facilitate the transportation of goods. A study by the Bank of Thailand showed that the railway will cut logistics costs from Yunnan to Nong Khai by half, thereby boosting trade with Laos and China.
The private sector also expects collaboration through the Cambodia-Vietnam-Thailand Economic Corridor (CVTEC) to strengthen connectivity for trade and commerce, as well as for meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions. (MICE) and the tourism sectors. The CVTEC framework links the industrial zone of Thailand in the EEC to the tourist destinations of the provinces of Chanthaburi and Trat; in the Cambodian provinces of Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk; and the Vietnamese Ca Mau and Kien Giang. The connection of the three countries by rail, road and water represents an opportunity to develop high added value services such as in the MICE, medical and well-being sectors as well as in freight logistics.
In addition to physical connectivity, the 7th GMS2 summit meeting included a commitment from participants to advance other mechanisms to help facilitate cross-border transport and trade flows. These include the GMS Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement, which aims to streamline rules and regulations for cross-border trade, investment and tourism. GMS members also launched a framework to encourage better integration of the energy sector by focusing on power generation, transport infrastructure and power trading through power grid connection and creation an integrated regional electricity market oriented towards clean and renewable energies.
The region is also committed to improving competitiveness by implementing measures to improve food security, safety and environmental sustainability of agri-food production through the integration of the value chain that favors small farmers, rural women and small and medium-sized agribusinesses and harmonized quality and safety standards. In addition, tourism in GSM should be boosted by promoting the region as a unique tourist destination supported by a well-coordinated marketing campaign and connected tourism infrastructure.
GMS members also announced their intention to develop special economic zones and border SEZs with improved connectivity as well as e-commerce. The GMS is also focused on community aspects such as self-help on issues such as sustainable urbanization, as well as on programs to improve communicable disease surveillance, especially across borders, to improve systems health, regulate safe and orderly labor migration, and build capacity. programs for public officials.