The Economic Potentials of Ubon Ratchathani: Inter-Local Relations between Thailand, Lao PDR and Cambodia after the outbreak of COVID 19

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Thanachate Wisaijorn


A borderland city plays a role in international relations. Because Ubon Ratchathani borders Champassak, Salavan and Savannakhet in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Preah Vihear in Cambodia, it is used as a case study of the proposed idea of inter-local relations. Before the outbreak of COVID 19, Ubon Ratchathani attracted a number of Cambodian and Lao people who boosted economic opportunities in the city. When the international border was closed in 2020 because of the pandemic, Ubon Ratchathani experienced a slowdown in international economic activity. After the border re-opened, inter-local trade between Ubon Ratchathani, Lao PDR and Cambodia was revived and continues to be more promising than the inter-local trade with Vietnam. To look for the ways to improve the inter-local economic activity of Ubon Ratchathani, this article employs discourse analysis and interviews with local Thai entrepreneurs, state officers and a scholar. Major trade relations with Champassak remain promising although it might take time for economic recovery because of inflation in Lao PDR. Trade relations with Preah Vihear rely significantly on the informal checkpoint of Chong An Ma, and the trade volume there remains low. Also, Ubon Ratchathani can contribute to the economic partnership between Thailand, Lao PDR and Cambodia by continuing to provide public health services to both countries. However, people from the Cambodia will have to rely on the formal checkpoint in the adjacent provinces of Sisaket and Surin. This article proposes that Ubon Ratchathani should promote the inter-local economic activity with Lao PDR through the trade of coffee beans and tapioca, as well as tourism industry. With Cambodia, the informal checkpoint of Chong An Ma should be upgraded as an official one so the trade volume has the potential to increase.

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Wisaijorn, T. (2023). The Economic Potentials of Ubon Ratchathani: Inter-Local Relations between Thailand, Lao PDR and Cambodia after the outbreak of COVID 19. Political Science and Public Administration Journal, 14(2), 13–48. Retrieved from
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