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Provincial Cluster of Southern Border Areas and Border Trade

March 24, 2014 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

The provincial cluster of southern border areas is playing an important role in the Thai-Malaysian border trade. Its location is suitable for enhancing ASEAN connectivity, as well.
The cluster comprises five provinces, namely Songkhla, Satun, Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat.

These provinces have a combined area of 20,809.7 square kilometers and a population of 3.8 million (1.88 million are male and 1.9 million are female). About 66 percent of local people in this provincial cluster are Buddhist and 34 percent are Muslim. The three border provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat are predominantly Muslim. They have a combined population of 1.9 million. Out of the local population, 83 percent are Muslim. Residents in these three provinces, therefore, have a distinctive culture, different from FIA-250x250the culture in other parts of Thailand.

Songkhla borders the Malaysian states of Kedah and Perlis. Yala shares borders with Perak and Kedah. Narathiwat borders Kelantan and Perak, while Satun shares a border with Perlis. Pattani is the only province that does not share a border with Malaysia.

There are nine border trade checkpoints in the cluster of southern border areas. They include Sadao, Padang Besar, and Ban Prakop in Songkhla; Buketa, Tak Bai, and Su-ngai Kolok in Narathiwat; Wang Prachan and Tammalang in Satun; and Betong in Yala.

Statistics compiled by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board show that Thailand’s border trade with Malaysia in 2012 amounted to 515.9 million baht, compared to 560.6 million baht in 2011 and 495 million baht in 2010. Out of the 515.9 million baht, 303 million baht involved exports and 212.9 million baht involved imports.

Major Thai exports to Malaysia include rubber and rubber products, computers and parts, processed wood, and automobiles and auto parts. Imports from Malaysia include electrical machinery, computer parts, and industrial machinery.

In 2012, two border trade checkpoints – Sadao and Padang Besar – registered the highest border trade value of all. Border trade in Sadao came to 310 million baht and Padang Besar 504.7 million baht.

In 2015, when the ASEAN Community goes into full effect, the nine border trade checkpoints will play an increasingly important role in developing the provincial cluster of border areas, connecting with other ASEAN countries.

For instance, Padang Besar will become a gateway for container transportation and travel by train. Sadao will serve as a gateway for goods transportation by trucks and travel by car for tourism.

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