PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Cambodia and Thailand are planning to open four new border crossings in four provinces as part of a move to increase trade between the two countries, officials said yesterday.
The six border crossing points are in Poipet, Koh Kong, Pailin, Battambang, and two are in Oddar Meanchey.
Most goods transfer between Thailand and Cambodia over land via trucks, according to Ministry of Commerce spokesman Ken Ratha, who said that the new checkpoints resulted from bilateral trade discussions earlier this year.
“Cambodia is trying to expand trade with Thailand – [the countries] held talks about ways to improve trade,” said Mr. Ratha. Some of the negotiations took place in Cambodia, with Thailand’s business council in attendance.
The new points will include an international gateway called Anses, connecting Preah Vihear with Thailand’s Ubon Rachathani. Another crossing called Phnom Dei checkpoint will border Cambodia’s Battambang province and Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province.
The third gateway is called Thmo Da border crossing between Cambodia’s Pursat province and Trat province of Thailand. The fourth crossing is Chub Koki, connecting Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey province and Thailand’s Buri Ram province.
“We expect the border crossing gateways at Anses and Phnom Dei will be completed ahead of Prime Minister Hun Sen visits Thailand in December,” the newly appointed Thai ambassador Nattavuth Photisaro told Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in a Monday meeting with the Council of Ministers.
PM Hun Sen is scheduled to visit Bangkok from 18-19 December, according to officials. Details of the visit remain unknown as both sides are still discussing the upcoming event.
The ambassador said that the Anses gateway is “expected to be completed by next month.”
Project costs and additional details about road expansions weren’t immediately available.
The new border crossings have the potential to expand land routes along the Greater Mekong Subregion, the flagship regional-integration project of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It is an economic corridor that includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as parts of southern China. Cambodia sits on the southern corridor that connects Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City.
Since 1992, $11 billion worth of infrastructure projects have been implemented with the ADB and other donors, though shoddy Cambodian roads still pose a hindrance.
According to Nippon Express, a Japanese logistics company, road improvements along the east-west Mekong corridor have made it easier to deliver shipments on time, saving money and reducing the risk of accidents. Faster delivery times are improving the interconnectivity of industries along the route.
Thailand also plans to break ground on a new institute of technology in Thpong District in Kampong Speu in February. Thai investors also plan to set up nearby farms covering about 200 hectares to raise cattle and poultry and plant trees.
Thai experts have trained Cambodia’s agricultural communities to pack fruit and improve production in the provinces of Koh Kong and Oddar Meanchey.
Cambodia-Thailand trade was worth $5.14 billion last year – Thai exports worth more than $4.5 billion and Cambodia’s export to Thailand was $590 million.
In 2013, the two-way trade was $4.5 billion of which Cambodia’s import from Thailand was $4.2 billion and Cambodia’s exports worth $355 million.
Thai investment in Cambodia was worth more than $25 millionlast year, compared with $32 million in 2013.