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Hun Sen discourages boycott of Thai goods

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has appealed to the

public not to boycott Thai products over the dispute at Preah Vihear.

“The border conflict shouldn’t make both nations enemies in all

things,” Hun Sen said Wednesday.

He warned that boycotts could be dangerous to business and urged

co-operation in all sectors. “If we stop buying Thai products, they

will not buy our products either,” Hun Sen said. He  discouraged a

group that urged a boycott of Thai products, which he warned would

unfairly affect farmers near the border.

“Please try to solve problems with each other,” he said.

Im Leap, 58, said most farmers in Malai District, Battambang province,

welcomed the prime minister’s comments.  “Thailand is a closer market

than Phnom Penh. We spend less on transport and prices are reasonable”.

Thailand, however, cancelled an exhibition to promote fruit in

Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh.  Commerce Ministry figures show that

trade between the two nations rose 133 percent for first half of 2008

compared to the same period last year.

Yang Saing Koma, director of the agricultural NGO CEDAC, said Cambodia-Thailand trade is necessary to improve the economy.

“We need Thai goods and Thais need the Cambodia market. I don’t think

the message to boycott Thai goods is positive because the two nations

need each other,” he said, adding that the fruit industry would be

hard-hit.

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