In an effort to curtail any delay of cross-border trade between Cambodia and Thailand, the two countries have agreed to establish specialized agricultural export zones along the border in the Kingdom. The move is also aimed at achieving a 30 percent year-on-year growth in bilateral trade.
Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh and his Thai counterpart agreed on the initiative during the recently held Third Joint-Trade Committee in Bangkok.
The zones will be created to avoid problems on the side of Thailand, particularly during harvest months, said Sok Sopheak, director general of the commerce ministry.
“Actually, they [Thailand] buy our agricultural products not to supply their own market, they just buy from us for export to other countries,” he said. “When we have this zone in our country, they can easily come to buy from farmers to process or stock here for export —this will not impact their price at all.”
Ly Uttny, head of the Banteay Meanchey Chamber of Commerce, said the zones will help farmers avoid any Thai ban, adding that they will draw more investments at the border for processing agricultural products to be exported via Thailand.
“It can also reduce transportation for export to other countries, which is cheaper, rather than transporting from here to Sihanoukville Port— that costs them a lot because it is very far, more than 1,000 kilometres,” he said.
Both sides had already come up with taskforces and action plans to accelerate the process, said Sok Sopheak, adding that they are now doing a joint feasibility study. “It is not an easy job. It will take about six months to one year,” he said.
With the creation of the zones, both nations also aimed to boost bilateral trade by 30 percent, he said.
Figures from the Foreign Trade Promotion office of the Thai embassy to Phnom Penh showed that bilateral trade was up 58.16 percent in the first quarter of 2012.