CHIANG RAI – The border market at Mae Sai -Tachilek Border Crossing has seen more customers from Myanmar purchasing goods during the lent end celebration and ahead of the general elections.
Thai immigration offices are dealing with a growing number of Burmese people, most of whom are going home to prepare documents required for the polls. Trade in the border areas has picked up accordingly. The atmosphere is easily seen in Mae Sai District which is close to Tachileik town in the Shan State of eastern Myanma.
The Vice Chair of Mae Sai Chamber of Commerce Pakaimas Vierra has revealed that the trading scene in the Thai side of Mae Sai border has recently seen an influx of purchases from Myanmar during the end of Buddhist lent celebration.
She assures that tourism activity in the area has remained normal, but expects tourism to become more active in the winter season and especially during the New Year holidays.
Regarding Myanmar’s historic general elections on 8 November 2015, the Vice Chair of the Chamber of Commerce maintains that the election’s outcome remains uncertain, particularly on how it will affect the trading scene in the area.
She has commented that it is likely the regulation for the import and export activity to and from the Chan State of Myanmar will be stricter during the election.
A recent visit of political activist and candidate Aung San Suu Kyi to the Shan State reportedly lured a large number of audience and heightened the political spirit of Burmese people. The situation there remains calm.
Despite the livelier trade atmosphere along the Thailand-Myanmar border, only the downtown area of Tachileik has benefited from the border trade. Burmese authorities have imposed stricter regulations on outgoing and incoming goods in the Shan State during the election campaign. The regulations will be adjusted after the election.
According to Chiang Rai Provincial Commercial Affairs Office, the trade volume between Chiang Rai, Myanmar, Laos, and China from January to September 2015 is valued at 32.8 billion baht. This marks a 7.75 percent increase from the same period of last year, with fuel and consumable products being Thailand’s key exports
By Vipaporn Pooritanasarn and Tanakorn Sangiam