Cambodia signs accords promising closer cooperation with eastern neighbour
Cambodia and Vietnam vowed Friday to strengthen cooperation on a wide range of issues affecting cross-border ties, particularly those involving bilateral trade and investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Secretary of State Ung Sean said.
The two parties signed an accord at the end of a two-day closed-door meeting to push ahead on 26 points of cooperation, he said. The accord cleared the way for concrete deals to be signed “soon” on the four most significant areas of relaxed visa rules, economic cooperation, education and improved border markings, he said.
Other areas for cooperation between the two countries covered by the 11th Meeting of the Cambodia-Vietnam Joint Commission on Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technology Cooperation were maritime transportation, criminal extradition, heavy industry, trade, migrant workers, extractive industries, transportation and cultural concerns.
Cambodia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong chaired the meeting alongside his Vietnamese counterpart and deputy prime minister, Pham Gia Khiem.
Cambodia’s Ung Sean said one of the more important deals for the Kingdom was a proposed relaxation of visa regulations for visitors between the two countries and migrant workers looking for jobs.
“We will offer a 30-day visa exemption for tourists from Vietnam; it previously was 14 days,” he said. As well, migrant workers with the right supporting documentation will be allowed to pursue employment across the border for up to one year.
In the education sector, Vietnam pledged increased opportunities for Cambodian students to study in Vietnamese schools. “They offered us 100 long-term scholarships and 450 short-term ones,” Ung Sean said.
Cambodia and Vietnam also moved to clear up border demarcation between the two countries, announcing the border would be fully marked by 2012.
Vietnam also pledged to wrap up construction on Road 78 to the O’Yadav border crossing by January 31, according to Ung Sean.
Officials from both countries noted that progress on many of the issues highlighted at the previous meeting had seen advancement, particularly economic ties, and pledged to continue working towards the goal of $2 billion in cross-border trade in 2010.
A Vietnamese proposal to end the process of double-taxing goods crossing the border failed because the implications in Cambodian law were not fully understood, Ung Sean said.
“We have never reached an agreement on this issue with another country before,” he said.