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Cross-border traders fear permanent ban

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Authorities say the closure is not permanent but an internal issue. KT/Ven Rathavong

The Pursat provincial administration director yesterday quelled fears that border traders are being banned from crossing into Thailand to exchange goods.

The traders, who usually are allowed to visit Nat Market in Thailand’s Trat province on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, were blocked from visiting the market on Saturday and became worried the ban would be permanent.

Director of the Pursat provincial administration Mov Manith said yesterday the Saturday closure was not an agreement between the two countries but was a Thai internal issue that will be resolved.

“On Monday and Wednesday, we processed things normally, but on Saturday we did not allow people to trade cross-border goods at Nat Market in Trat province,” he said, noting the suspension was temporary. “Our Thai counterparts had internal problems.”

After the Saturday suspension, vendors learned of a meeting today between the countries’ border agencies and were worried their cross-border trading would be outlawed.

But Mr Manith said today’s meeting is not to discuss the issue of cross-border traders.

Trader Yong Ran said Thai authorities have banned Cambodians from entering Thailand for trade for nearly a week and vendors are worried authorities are not being up front with them.

“Two weeks ago, Thai authorities banned only rubber producers from selling in Thailand,” she said. “But last week, they also banned people from crossing to buy and sell anything at the Thai market.”

Yong Rann, a vendor living about two kilometres away from the Thmar Da border gate, said she is worried she will not be able to sell goods in Thailand any longer, while traders from Thailand are still being allowed to sell in Cambodia.

“The Thai side is not allowing Cambodian people to cross the border to Nat Market,” she said. “But the people living on the Thai side can bring goods to sell in Cambodia.”

“The people living in the Thmar Da area are now facing difficulties with their livelihoods,” she added.

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