Thailand's government continues to endorse trade with Cambodia despite the most recent fighting between the two countries, including pushing forward with plans for an exhibition in Phnom Penh, according to Jiranan Wongmongkol, Commercial Counsellor based at the Thai Embassy.
Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce advised that business with Cambodia ought to continue as normal regardless of the deadly clashes taking place along the border, which have occurred since April 22.
“As long as the border between the two countries is open, Thai manufacturers and exporters see Cambodia as one of the potential markets for their products,” she said.
“I do hope that the border gates won’t be closed because the recent border fighting,” she added.
Jiranan Wongmongkol said that as a result of the directive, Thailand will push forward with its plan to hold a trade exhibition in Phnom Penh later this month.
“We have no plan to quit,” she said. “Our plan to organize the second expo is still on schedule.”
The event will be held between May 19 and 22 at Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island Exhibition Center, Jiranan Wongmongkol said, with up to 300 Thai companies participating. The companies will feature a variety of products ranging from consumer items and food to home goods and construction materials.
“Every year, we just hold one trade expo here. But this year, we’re doing two because Thailand is committed to strengthening and expanding trade with Cambodia,” she said.
Chan Nora, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce, yesterday praised the decision to continue, say Thailand’s exhibition would have a positive effect on trade relations between the two countries.
“We want everything to go as normal with Thailand, especially the trade exhibition,” he said.
“But if the Thais want to close the border, we will close our gates, too,” he added.
Prime Minister Hun Sen late last month warned that Cambodia could boycott Thai products if Thailand closed its border, following renewed fighting between the two countries.
He added the Kingdom could turn to countries such as Vietnam and China for imports.
According to Thai Embassy figures released earlier in the year, trade between the two countries jumped 54 percent in 2010 to US$2.56 billion, up from $1.66 billion a year earlier.
Cambodia’s exports to Thailand in 2010 rose 176 percent year-on-year to $215 million, while Thailand’s exports to the Kingdom increased about 48 percent to $2.34 billion, the Thai embassy said.