Cambodia, among the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries, has agreed to allow commercial trucks and tourist buses to travel more freely from country to country starting December 1, following lengthy talks, according to a report in the Bangkok Post.
“Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China, which form a vast economic area connected by the Mekong River, have agreed to give each country a quota of 500 vehicles under the transnational transport plan to promote regional logistics and tourism,” the newspaper report stated.
“This program, which will initially last three years, will be applied to all member countries, except Myanmar which has asked for more preparation time,” said Thailand’s Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, after a meeting with his counterparts on Thursday.
Also listed under the GMS international transport agreement are routes linking Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district and the Cambodian town of Poipet, as well as Chiang Rai’s Chiang Khong district and Laos’ Ban Houayxay and Mukdahan in northeastern Thailand and Savanakhet province, which is also in Laos, according to Mr. Arkhom.
Before December 1, each country has to fine-tune details about international transport and deal with “some complicated issues”, Mr. Arkhom said, expecting talks to cover the types of vehicles and goods to be moved, and foreshadowing separate negotiations on tourist coach management.
Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council, welcomed the project, saying that it will improve trade between Cambodia and Thailand as well as provide a new channel for the Asean Economic Community to move forward.
“The more Cambodia trades with its neighboring countries, especially Thailand and Vietnam, the more benefits Cambodia will receive,” Mr. Kalyan said.
In the first four months of this year, trade volume between Thailand and Cambodia reached about $1.7 billion. Cambodia is Thailand’s 22nd largest trading partner and the eighth largest in Asean.
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