Mae Sot: a model to follow
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Mae Sot: a model to follow

Farid Shah | June 08, 2019 12:20 hrs


My recent visit to Mae Sot (Thai–Myanmar border town) last month left me amazed as to how a once sleepy border town has become a well developed and well equipped international land border resulting in employment generation and development of the entire region.


I have had the opportunity of visiting different international land borders over the years, be it the Indo-Bangladesh border points of Tamabil and Mahendraganj in Meghalaya and Sutarkandi in Assam, Indo–Bhutan border in Gelephu in Assam, Indo–Nepal border in Kakarbita in West Bengal, Indo-China border in the high-altitude Natu la Pass in Sikkim and the most popular and crowded Indo–Myanmar border in the town of Moreh in Manipur. Recently, I was appointed the Advisor to the “Border Trade & Chamber of Commerce,” Moreh town.


Regarding Mae Sot, we can learn from the different facilities offered in this border town to boost international trade. The newly constructed Land Custom Terminal in Mae Sot can serve as a “model” example to develop the international borders in the northeast region of India which will give a major boost to employment generation, increase in international trade practices among the youth and lead to the overall development of the region. 


This town has systematic and well developed separate lanes for trucks, passenger buses and private vehicles along the customs clearance offices for smooth running of the operations. This gives one a fairly good idea how well organised and efficient the setup is built for the future, connecting Myanmar with Thailand and the rest of ASEAN.


However, one notable facility worth mentioning is the newly constructed “Free Zone” by the Royal Thai government. On enquiry of the facility it was explained to me by Senior Custom Officer Khun Samnau (who happens to be a schoolmate of my associate Khun Phaisarn L) that the Zone is set up exclusively for packing and repacking purposes to be used by traders and businessman free-of-cost.


The main purpose is to send the final products of various goods directly to the retail outlets, departmental stores, wholesalers and sea ports in Myanmar, Thailand and the rest of the ASEAN nations thus cutting time and expenses to a great extent. 


So, Mae Sot I believe can be a great example to follow for our people in the northeast who are engaged in the international trade by land with our neighbouring countries and to promote connectivity, trade and overland caravan tourism. Most importantly, having such a model border town will attract investments into the region. We must have our infrastructure in place if we want to develop and attract investment into the northeast.  


(The writer is a trade and investment consultant (ASEAN region). He can be reached at shahfarid90@gmail.com) 
 

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