Thailand is suggested to upgrade a temporary Thai-Lao border checkpoint in Nakorn Panom province through which fruits can be transported on land to southern China.
Charnyudh Upapong, head of the provincial chamber of commerce, said on Wednesday the volume of varied Thai fruits, currently exported to southern China, will likely increase if the temporary border checkpoint is upgraded as a permanent trading spot in near future.
Thailand and Laos are part of the newly-established ASEAN Economic Community where regional trade and investment as well as cross-border tourism are planned to expand.
The Baan Paeng - Bolikhamxay border checkpoint currently accommodates some 277 million U.S. dollars in value of the China-bound fruits from Thailand, including longan, durian, mangosteen, banana and pomelo in a year, according to the head of Nakorn Panom's chamber of commerce.
Large quantities of the Thai fruits are transported by truck from Baan Paeng district in Thailand across Mekong River to Bolikhamxay province in Laos, then forwarded toward Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, and finally delivered to Guangxi province in southern China, he said.
Nakorn Panom, about 740 km northeast of the Thai capital, is among 10 Thai border provinces already declared "special economic zones" where major infrastructural, commercial and other facilities as well as tourist industry are to be developed to meet the speculated regional economic growth.
Thailand has declared "special economic zones" for two other northeastern provinces sharing borders with Laos, namely Nong Khai and Mukdaharn, in addition to Nakorn Panom.