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Thai links set to boost trade

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan o-cha at the opening of the Third Cambodia-Thailand Joint Cabinet Retreat at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. Heng Voneath

The Ministry of Commerce has committed to joining up with the Thai Embassy in Cambodia to build a favourable business and investment climate between the Asean neighbours.

The aim is to expand trade to achieve the target of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha’s pledge of $15 billion bilateral trade by 2020.

The commitment was made at the seminar in Phnom Penh on Monday to expand the potential of border trade.

It came just a few days came after both prime ministers met at the Third Cambodia-Thailand Joint Cabinet Retreat at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.

Both prime ministers agreed to seek more strategies to boost bilateral trade, cross-border development and investment to achieve the target of $15 billion in trade exchange by 2020.

The seminar was attended by more than 200 inter-ministerial officials from Cambodia and Thailand, entrepreneurs, investors and traders.

Kem Sithorn, secretary of state of the Ministry of Commerce, said at the seminar in Phnom Penh on Monday that both countries needed to promote mutual understanding to boost trade volume and strengthen economic cooperation.

Mr Sithorn said that Cambodia had enjoyed a strong economic growth averaging 7 percent a year over the past two decades.

The government’s commitment, he said, was to diversify the light manufacturing sector and to continue integrating into regional and global production networks.

Mr Sithorn pointed to the new 2015-1025 Industrial Development Policy, which he said was a growth strategy and a roadmap for developing Cambodia’s small and medium-sized enterprise value chains.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, we pledged to help Thai business people by granting favourable conditions on investment and special incentives to contribute to the expansion of trade and investment along the Cambodian-Thai border,” said Mr Sithorn.

Ambassador Nuttavudh Photisaro pointed to the progress of trade relations between Thailand and Cambodia, as well as the importance of diversifying the trade volume on the border to improve the livelihoods of the people of both countries and to achieve the 2020 plan.

“Thailand’s position is to facilitate the transportation of goods from Cambodian businessmen to third countries and to support and assist Thai businessmen in the purchase of more agricultural goods from Cambodia,” Mr Nuttavudh said.

At the cabinet retreat, both countries also reached an agreement on double tax avoidance and preventing the declaration of fraudulent income to avoid tax.

Last year, the trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand reached at $5.6 billion, a $100 million rise compared with 2015, according to figures provided by the Thai Embassy in Cambodia.

Thailand’s exports to Cambodia last year were worth $4.7 billion while Cambodia’s exports to Thailand were valued at $937 million.      

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