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New road gives boost to O'Smach checkpoint

New road gives boost to O'Smach checkpoint

THE O’Smach International Border Checkpoint exceeded its tax revenue targets for 2009 by 50 percent in its first year of official operations following the renovation of National Road 68, border officials said.

Chhe Sothea, head of Oddar Meanchey province’s Customs and Excise Office, which has jurisdiction over the crossing, said traders paid around US$50,000 in import and export duties during the year.

He acknowledged the takings were small, but hoped further development of the road would boost trade with Thailand and tourist arrivals over coming years.

“The government is now paving the road in an attempt to ease the journey along the road for both Cambodian people and foreign tourists who cross the border through this border checkpoint,” he said.

The Oddar Meanchey Customs and Excise Office was split from its Siem Reap counterpart at the beginning of 2009 to handle trade through the checkpoint, which was opened in 2002 but rarely staffed.

Checkpoint head Vath Paranin said he hoped further improvements to the road would boost tourist traffic through the checkpoint along with trade.
“Twice as many tourists will cross through this checkpoint when the road is complete, and that will boost state revenue too,” he said.

Around 30 tourists cross into Cambodia though the checkpoint daily, he said, up from less than 10 in 2008.

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