Trade with Thailand to rise

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Thailands much-touted Eastern Economic Corridor and a new special economic zone in Trat province are expected to become instrumental in bolstering trade with Cambodia.

“Although Trat is not a part of the Eastern Economic Corridor territory, the province is also expected to enjoy benefits from this megaproject, as it is 340 kilometres from Laem Chabang seaport in Thailand, and 25km from Sihanoukville seaport in Cambodia,” said Trat governor Charnna Iamsang.

The planned special economic zone development in Trat covers 5,000 hectares in three local government areas: Khlong Yai, Mai Rut and Hat Lek.

According to Mr Charnna, Trat officials and the private sector have been working with their counterparts in Cambodia’s Battambang, Pursat and Sihanoukville provinces and have set up a joint committee to drive economic, tourism and trade cooperation.

Thailand and Cambodia recently agreed to put more effort into boost trading at the cross-border checkpoint at Bo Rai at Thailand’s Trat and Battambang side in Cambodia.

As a result, the number of cross-border travellers has increased to 300 per day from 30.

The border checkpoint is expected to boost trade value to $120 million this year, up from $6 million over the last few years.

In the next 10 years, Transport Ministry is expected to complete a motorway project that will link Trat with major cities in Cambodia.

Yaowalak Suphapha, vice-president of Koh Kong Sez Co, the operator of Koh Kong Special Economic Zone, said five companies from Japan, Korea and Thailand have established factories in the area.

She said Koh Kong can be developed as a production base for high-standard products or international brands given competitive wages compared to other countries in Southeast Asia.

Koh Kong is also able to connect to major ports in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, so products can be shipped to other countries by sea and transferred by land due to better infrastructure.

She added Cambodia is also promoting 15 special economic zones throughout the country and Koh Kong is designated as the main gateway to Thailand and countries beyond, such as Myanmar. Bangkok Post

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