Thai durian shipments to China surge as China-Laos Railway boosts trade

Xinhua, August 16, 2023

Photo taken on May 5, 2022, shows a durian sorting factory in Chanthaburi province, Thailand. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

Thailand's durian exports to China through the China-Laos Railway expanded 365 percent in the first five months of this year thanks to shorter transit time and advantages under the free trade agreements, Thai media reported on Tuesday.

The train route brings opportunities for Thai products to enter the Chinese market as it greatly reduces the transit time to less than 15 hours from two days by road, Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) under Thailand's Ministry of Commerce, was quoted by Thairath Online as saying.

Thailand's fruit exports to China have increased considerably since the China-Laos Railway began operation in December 2021, Auramon said, noting that shipments through the Southeast Asian country's Northeast dry port of Nong Khai bordering Laos were recorded at 1.96 billion baht (55 million U.S. dollars) in 2022, jumping from 90.41 million baht (2.55 million dollars) in the previous year.

She also noted that Thai fruits and other shipments can take advantage of privileges under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Free Trade Area and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Thailand's exports to China via the China-Laos Railway were valued at 2.84 billion baht (80.22 million dollars) during the January-May period, 72 percent of which were fresh durian shipments, according to the DTN.