Officials say they hope the new agreement will help boost trade and encourage tourism between Thai and Cambodian provinces
SIHANOUKVILLE and Koh Kong provinces have signed a memorandum of understanding with Thailand's Trat province to cooperate on trade, investment and tourism, officials said.
Sihanoukville Governor Say Hak and Koh Kong Deputy Governor Yoy Seuy led a delegation to Trat last week to negotiate the agreement, which seeks to shore up economic ties between the border provinces.
"Both partners would meet to discuss immediately if any problems occur," Yoy Seuy told the Post on Monday.
"We will meet once a year to review this cooperation."
Another Koh Kong deputy governor, Bin Sam Ol, added that the agreement would help people from both sides of the border find new markets for their products.
"I think it will benefit both provinces and all people along the border," Bin Sam Ol said.
Officials say Cambodia imports large amounts of fruit and other agricultural products from Thailand through Trat, while Thais cross the border to gamble.
Sihanoukville Deputy Governor Spoang Sarath said that officials also signed an agreement on tourism with Trat, a key crossover for foreign visitors travelling between Thailand and Cambodia.
He said that tensions along the border in the north have had little impact on the flow of people through the border crossing in the south.
"Currently we have tensions on the border at Preah Vihear temple but here we do not have any problems," he said.
"The [agreement] between the two countries will boost cooperation on trade and tourism, as well as agriculture production," he said.
In 2002 Thailand provided a long-term soft loan of more than US$19 million to Cambodia to construct a 150km stretch of Route 48 linking Sre Ambel to Koh Kong, which is emerging as a significant hub for business and tourism.
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra reportedly plans to build a casino and resort in Koh Kong, although Cambodian officials said they have not yet seen the proposal.