Thailand’s Commerce Ministry plans to set up commercial offices in CLMV countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – to get trade data and investment information that can be used by Thai businesses. This move was welcomed by Cambodia, with a senior government official saying it would further strengthen bilateral trade ties with Thailand.
Thailand’s Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn told Bangkok-based The Nation daily recently that CLMV countries were important for the country as the trade volume between them and Thailand was expanding fast compared to Japan, the United States and the European Union.
She said that trade between Thailand and CLMV from January reached about 353 billion baht (over $10 billion), up by about 1.74 percent in the same period last year.
“The commercial offices in CLMV countries will provide trade information and advisory services, related to marketing, investment, business law and regulation [to Thai businesses],” said Ms. Apiradi.
“The Commerce Ministry also plans to lead Thai business groups to explore and seek trade and investment opportunities in CLMV countries soon,” she added.
Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to Cambodia’s Supreme National Economic Council, told Khmer Times that the Thai Commerce Ministry has made a good move by setting up CLMV commercial offices in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
“It augurs well for Cambodia and it is good for bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand,” said Mr. Kalyan.
“It’s good to have commercial offices in CLMV countries, especially in Cambodia, because it could facilitate [trade information flow] for both Thai and Cambodian businesspeople. They could know about investment opportunities in each country through this office,” he added. “They [Thais] want to have a good understanding of the economic and political situation in Cambodia and also know how markets behave here.”
He added that it is paramount for Cambodia to build close trade ties with neighboring countries and stressed the need for building good economic relations with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
During the past five years, bilateral trade ties between Cambodia and Thailand have been improving and trade volume between both countries is predicted to reach $15 billion by 2020. Bilateral trade volume increased 15 percent in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year and trade in the first quarter this year reached $1.6 billion.
Last year two-way trade volume reached about $5 billion, according to data from the Thai Embassy in Cambodia. Of that amount, only $593 million was for goods Cambodia exported to Thailand. Cambodia’s shipments to Thailand includes milled rice, cassava, corn, palm sugar and other goods, while imported products from Thailand include construction and agricultural materials, car parts, clothes, housing items and cosmetic products.
Minister Councilor at the Royal Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh Jiranan Wongmongkol said recently she believed that trade between Cambodia and Thailand will increase due to better infrastructure in Cambodia.
“It is a good point from which to further boost trade volume,” Ms. Jiranan said.
She said she believes that more investment will come from Thailand after the railway project [linking Phnom Penh to Poipet] is completed.
“I hope that logistics on the train will be better because 70 percent of products and goods from Thailand to Cambodia are imported through Poipet on the Thai ‒ Cambodian border,” she said.
The railway linking Phnom Penh to Poipet, on the Thailand ─ Cambodia border is due to be completed at the end of this year.
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