The Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) has provided 6.9 billion baht in financial support for 10 projects to develop transport and communications in neighboring countries.
NEDA was established in May 2005 as a public organization under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance. Its mission is to provide financial and economic assistance to neighboring countries in line with the Government’s policies.
Out of the 10 transport and communications development projects, six are in Lao PDR, three in Cambodia, and one in Myanmar. Seven projects have already been completed.
According to NEDA, financial assistance for neighboring countries is in the form of soft loans, with an annual interest rate of 1.5 percent, and a repayment period of 30 years, including a grace period of 10 years. In addition, the assistance is also in the form of a grant loan. The borrower should hire a Thai-owned consulting firm and a Thai contractor. In the case of a joint venture between Thailand and a neighboring country, financial assistance should be used to procure goods and services originating in Thailand in the proportion of not less than 50 percent of the contract price.
Thailand has economic development cooperation frameworks with neighboring countries at both regional and bilateral levels. The frameworks include the Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS), the Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sect oral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).
Apart from transport and communications, financial assistance to neighboring countries also covers other areas, such as trade, investment, energy, and tourism.
Thailand attaches great importance to developing relations with neighboring countries in every dimension and at all levels. The policy statement delivered by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in December 2008 stressed the need to cultivate good understanding and mutual respect in order to promote stability, security, and prosperity in the region through the promotion of cooperation in all areas under various sub-regional frameworks, as well as resolving issues with neighboring countries through peaceful means based on relevant treaties and laws.
At a discussion on Thailand’s role in helping develop neighboring countries, former Finance Minister Chalongphob Susangkarn said that Thailand’s financial and technical assistance offered to neighboring countries would contribute to economic development in the region and help tackle border problems.