The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) does not agree with foreign minister’s proposal that Thailand should close all checkpoints on the Thai-Cambodian border, FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsutthipol said.
The proposal came after the clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops continued along the border in Surin province for the seventh day running. Border crossings in Surin have been closed.
“Closing all the border crossing points will only escalate the situation,” Mr Payungsak said on Thursday.
FTI chairman suggested that the government try to settle the border conflict in a positive way, by trying to peacefully restore the relationship with Cambodia. Most Thai people do not want the conflict to escalate, he added.
Mr Payungsak said the industrial sector was not worried too much about the fighting as it was occurring in a limited area and he believed Thailand and Cambodia would be able to avoid an escalation.
FTI deputy chairman Thanit Sorat, secretary-general of the Thai-Cambodian Business Council, said the impact of the fighting had so far been limited to border trade at Chong Chom and Chong Sangam border crossing points in Surin.
The border trade value there accounted for only seven per cent of the total, and that was not that much, he added.
He expected the trade along the Thai Cambodian border, including Aranyaprathet and Klong Luek checkpoints in Sa Kaeo and Klomng Yai checkpoint in Trat would substantially increase, to about 100 billion baht in 2011.
The border trade was valued at 79 billion baht last year, with Thailand benefitting the most with a 65 billion baht trade surplus.
Major products exported to Cambodia included finished oil, refined sugar, cement, fruits and food products. Thailand is the 15th largest investor in Cambodia, where the major investors are Taiwan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Malaysia, according to Mr Payungsak.