Tuesday, June 6, 2023

RI-Malaysia-Thailand Triangle Trade Hits $618b in Crisis-Hit 2021

Jayanty Nada Shofa
May 11, 2023 | 12:44 pm
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President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo speaks with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith shortly before the 15th IMT-GT Summit in Labuan Bajo on May 11, 2023. (POOL/Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo speaks with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith shortly before the 15th IMT-GT Summit in Labuan Bajo on May 11, 2023. (POOL/Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Jakarta. Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle, also known as the IMT-GT, recorded $618 billion worth of trade in the crisis-hit 2021, and the subregional grouping is convening in Labuan Bajo in hopes to set sail for stronger economic cooperation.

The IMT-GT focuses on driving economic transformation in the less developed areas in the three member countries. This group comprises 10 provinces of Sumatra, eight states in Peninsular Malaysia, and 14 provinces in Thailand's southern region. 

“In its 30th year, the IMT-GT has become a golden triangle of cooperation for 85 million people in three countries. I’m pleased to see that despite the global crisis, IMT-GT’s trade volume reached $618 billion in 2021,” President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said at the start of the 15th IMT-GT Summit in Labuan Bajo on Thursday. 

Jokowi also warned the trio of the challenges ahead, including mounting power rivalries and the domino effect of global economic shocks. He said: “Moving forward, IMT-GT must be able to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth.”

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“Let us embrace the spirit of collaboration, particularly in driving our competitiveness, connectivity, tourism, and investment, to achieve the 2036 IMT-GT Vision,” Jokowi said.

An earlier IMT-GT ministerial statement showed that the group’s trade reached $350.9 billion in 2020. The total investment in the subregion grew from $26.1 billion in 2020 to $58.5 billion the following year.

According to the 2036 IMT-GT Vision, the subregion aims to post $694 billion in real gross domestic product (GDP) by 2036. It also wishes to increase the intra-IMT-GT trade from 9.2 percent of the total IMT trade in 2015 to 28 percent by the same year.

The 15th IMT-GT Summit had Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in attendance. 

Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith attended the talks on Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s behalf as the latter could not come due to the upcoming election. The 15th IMT-GT Summit took place on the sidelines of the 42nd ASEAN Summit.

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