Thailand and Malaysia Aim for $30 Billion Trade Target by 2027

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai and Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Malaysia's Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI)

KUALA LUMPUR — The 3rd meeting of the Thai-Malaysian Joint Trade Committee (JTC) ended on July 4, 2024 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a positive outcome. The two countries will connect the southern border in the form of Twin Cities.

Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai led a delegation to meet with the Malaysian delegation, headed by Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Malaysia’s Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI). Following the meeting, Phumtham stated that both countries will advance their economic cooperation to achieve the trade target of 30 billion dollars or 1 trillion baht by 2027, as set by their respective prime ministers.

Both countries will speed up the opening of agricultural markets. Thailand has asked Malaysia to expedite approval for the import of beef, pork and Java chicken and to certify Thai producers of chilled and frozen chicken for export to Malaysia.

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To strengthen economic ties at the border and increase border trade figures, the Joint Border Trade and Investment Working Group set up by the two prime ministers will work closely together. Malaysia will host the first meeting of the working group at the end of July to promote and clarify border trade and investment issues.

Thailand has proposed to link local economies between five southern border provinces of Thailand and five northern states of Malaysia in the form of twin trading cities: Narathiwat-Kelantan, Songkhla-Kedah, Satun-Perlis, Yala-Perak and Pattani-Terengganu.

Efforts are also being made to finalize the Memorandum of Understanding on Cross-Border Movement of Goods and Passengers between Thailand and Malaysia, which is expected to be signed this year.

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Both parties welcomed the progress on the construction of the new road at Sadao checkpoint and Malaysia’s Bukit Kayu Hitam checkpoint, scheduled for completion in 2025, which will facilitate cross-border transportation of goods and tourism.

Both sides also agreed to promote new collaborations, particularly supporting halal entrepreneurs and franchise businesses in which Thailand excels, to expand into Malaysia.

Cooperation in digital technology and data centers, which was emphasized by both governments, will help create a conducive environment for trade, attract investment and make the transition to a digital economy.

The Prime Minister of Thailand, Srettha Thavisin and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, have frequently met to discuss economic matters.

Phumtham invited the Malaysian side to participate in the Border Trade Expo in Songkhla province and other trade promotion activities in Thailand this year, including Thailand Week 2024 and international trade fairs in Thailand.

“On behalf of the Thai government, I would like to thank you for making today’s meeting a success. I will report back to the Prime Minister on the outcomes to drive further economic cooperation between the two countries, and we look forward to welcoming the Malaysian Cabinet and leaders to the 4th Malaysia-Pakistan Economic Cooperation Conference,” said Phumtham.


Malaysia is Thailand’s top trading partner in ASEAN and the fourth largest in the world, as well as the country’s top border trading partner.

In 2023, total trade between Thailand and Malaysia amounted to 25.1 billion dollars (-7.14 percent). In the first five months of 2024 (January-May), bilateral trade was valued at 10.78 billion (-0.54 percent), with exports at 5.04 billion imports at 5.74 billion.