Thai and Burmese authorities have resolved a dispute that arose around the number of trucks being permitted to use the border crossing between Tachileik, Shan State, and Mae Sai, in Chiang Rai.
According to an existing agreement, 168 trucks from Burma are allowed to cross the Friendship Bridge 2 to Thailand every day. In practice, Thailand was allowing just six trucks to enter the country through the checkpoint, with the limitations attributed to COVID-19 prevention measures.
Burmese authorities said that the restrictions were slowing border trade between the two nations. They responded by also limiting Thai vehicles coming to Burma to six per day.
The Thai vehicles, which carry food supplies and household products, as well as fuel, were delayed up to a week from entering Burma.
Thai and Burmese authorities met at the 1G18 Hotel in Tachileik on September 28 to discuss the issue.
“We agreed on five points. Vehicles are allowed to pass into each country, so Burmese vehicles are allowed to enter Thailand after registration,” Chan Myae Saw, a General Administration Department (GAD) officer for Tachileik Township, told SHAN.
Thai authorities will now charge 15,000 baht (US$474) for a Burmese vehicle to enter Thailand, a reduction from 30,000-40,000 baht ($947-$1,263).
“We tried to negotiate with them to reduce the fee,” Chan Myae Saw told SHAN.
Larger vehicles, like semi-trucks, will need to pay an additional 2 percent tax, but there will be no overstay fees.
“We discussed the extra fees for overstay. They would collect an extra fee for overstaying if Burmese vehicles could not return to Burma on time. We agreed that extra fees for overstaying would not be collected,” Chan Myae Saw said.
Thailand mainly exports food products, fuel, alcohol, cement and steel to Burma.
There was an estimated 12.2 billion baht ($385.2 million) in trade between Thailand and Burma from October 2019 to August 2020.