Prime Minister Hun Sen has revealed plans for the construction of a new highway, National Road 10, from Battambang to Koh Kong province.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony for National Road 55, the recently completed highway in Pursat province, which reaches the Thai border.
When combined together, the strategic routes will create an important economic corridor between Cambodia and Thailand, the premier believes.
“One of the purposes of these two national roads is to connect with neighbouring countries in the region and then the world. It will help to facilitate an investment climate and improve trade, tourism and cross-border cooperation, while also creating jobs and promoting social welfare and education for people,” Mr Hun Sen expanded.
He also added that the routes will also help to reduce poverty in the Kingdom as the trade route will boost the economy overall.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, trade between Cambodia-Thailand grew by 12 percent in 2019 to $9.4 billion, increasing from $5 billion in 2015. In that year, the leaders of the two countries agreed to aim to triple bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2020.
Last year, Cambodia’s exports to Thailand were valued at $2.27 billion, a 195 percent year-on-year increase, while imports from Thailand were valued at $7.14 billion, a 6 percent decrease.
The Premier also called for his officials to work with their Thai counterparts with the aim of opening four further international border gates between the countries, to boost bilateral trade and tourism. Currently, there are seven in operation.
The Prime Minister said that the opening of more international border gates along the Thai/Cambodia border will also help with tourist transit, an important economic sector for the country.
“With more international border checkpoints, not only will trade between the two nations increase, it will also boost the numbers of tourists (both medical and recreational) crossing between our two countries, so it is to the mutual benefit of Thailand and Cambodia,” Mr Hun Sen said.
With this in mind, the Premier asked his three deputy prime ministers, Sar Kheng, minister of interior, Tea Banh, minister for national defence, and Prak Sokhonn, minister of foreign affairs to take note and raise pertinent issues with their counterparts at a future meeting in Thailand.
Cambodia’s Ambassador to Thailand, Ouk Sorphorn, told Khmer Times that they will fully support the intiative.
“We will continue working with all relevant stakeholder from both public and private sector to promote the Thai Plus-One project at the new border checkpoint to create job opportunities for the locals, help diversify Cambodia’s industrial sector and accelerate growth,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the National Road 55 is 182 kilometres long and connects Pursat’s Veal Veng to Thmor Da (at the Cambodia-Thailand border). The nine-metre-wide highway was built in alignment with high-level-III techniques used in China and features a double bituminous treatment for longevity.
The construction cost $132.8million and was funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, together with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Compensation Fund for tackling the impact
of Unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance and construction.
Concluding his announcement, Mr Hun Sen said the government will also continue to prioritise the rehabilitation and construction of transport infrastructure, including roads, railways, waterways, airways, bridges and ports, to promote rural connectivity closer to cities, towns, nature and history.