Thai Business Seeks Openings in Cambodia
Siem Reap (Khmer Times) – In anticipation of increasingly adverse export conditions, entrepreneurs from six northeastern provinces of Thailand are trying to strengthen ties with their counterparts here.
A delegation from the Thai side of the border met with business people here and others from Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom and Stung Treng provinces.
They focused mainly on contract farming deals and business matching, according to local business leaders.
The initial meeting began last week, two days after Cambodia and Thailand introduced the “Two Kingdoms, One Destination” agreement in an attempt to boost tourism in both countries.
Thailand’s economy is heavily export-dependent – exports accounting for more than two-thirds of the country’s GDP.
However, since the military takeover, Thailand’s exports have struggled. Hoping to take advantage of emerging Asean markets, Thailand’s Commerce Ministry and the Board of Trade of Thailand have set their sights on the Cambodian economy and its high demand for investment and imports.
Thai entrepreneurs from the provinces of Buriram, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Surin, Sisaket and Ubon Thani signed agreements with their Cambodian counterparts to co-develop tourism packages as well as trade in agricultural and consumer products. Products and packages on the list include tapioca, soy, pepper, vehicles and parts, and input factors for agricultural goods.
Participating parties expect these contract farming and business matching deals to yield tangible results, which will, in turn, promote confidence in and amongst Cambodian and Thai entrepreneurs.
Business people at the three-day Cambodia-Thailand meeting said red tape at border crossings and the language barrier were the key hurdles they faced.
On June 5, the two countries discussed a bilateral transport agreement that would increase exports for both Cambodia and Thailand by opening up more border crossings to ease the flow of traffic and increasing the number of permitted border crossings to 500 a day over the next three years.
Some say the agreement would favor Thailand, as Cambodia doesn’t have enough goods to transport to Thailand and thus does not have the resources to use up their border-crossing quota.
Bilateral trade between the two countries last year was valued at $5 billion, up from $4 billion in 2013. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Cambodian exports to Thailand last year were valued at $571 million, more than double the 2012 figure.
By Khmer Times/Naomi-Collett Ritz
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