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Thai goods lose edge, Koh Kong officials say

KOH KONG
Koh Kong provincial officials said Wednesday that improved road linkages and expanded regional trade has reduced the province’s reliance on Thailand for goods and commodities, although most products consumed locally are still produced across the border.

Dom Yuk Hean, deputy governor of Koh Kong province said consumer goods and construction materials can be trucked in from Phnom Penh if necessary since the upgrade of National Road 48 in 2008.

“In the past, we were 100 percent reliant on consumer goods and construction materials from Thailand because of poor road linkage from Phnom Penh to here,” he said. “But since the launch of National Road 48 last year, we have reduced our reliance on Thai products, and some goods are now being trucked in from Phnom Penh,” he said.

Silim Favit, deputy director of the Koh Kong provincial department of commerce, said increased regional trade had eliminated the total reliance on Thailand experienced in the recent past, although he acknowledged Thai goods still dominated. “Now products from Vietnam, China, Korea and Malaysia are available in the province’s markets,” he said.

Total Thai-Cambodian trade in the first seven months of 2009 dropped 31.7 percent to US$913.58 million, figures collated by Thai customs showed from $1.34 billion during the same period last year.

The recent flare-up in political tension between the governments of Thailand prompted speculation about possible trade bans and border closures, though neither side seems intent on pursuing such measures.

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