Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last Monday approved plans to build a new economic corridor linking China, along Vietnam’s northern border, to the Bavet International checkpoint in Cambodia, in order to facilitate increased flow of goods between the three countries.
The corridor, which will take five years to build, will run from Lang Son on the Vietnam-China border to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the Moc Bai border gate of Tay Ninh province in southern Vietnam, ending at the Bavet International Checkpoint in Svay Rieng province, Vietnamese media has reported.
The project will entail infrastructure development, including road development and trade services, as well as give a boost to tourism and existing economic zones in the countries. Vietnam projects 46 per cent of sea transport and 70 per cent of land transport to run along the Lang Son-Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City-Moc Bai corridor, the state-run Saigon Giai Phong reported.
An official from the Ministry of Public Work and Transport, who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorised to speak on the issue, said the Svay Rieng province did not yet have the adequate border-facilities needed to service economic activity along the corridor.
“We need to improve the Bavet International check point, as there are still limitations. We are still lack[ing] of inspection facilities for containers with huge amount of goods, especially from China,” he said.
The ministry official added that the Bavet checkpoint and inspection facilities weren’t big enough to accommodate this increased traffic and in order to benefit from the corridor the country would need to quicken its inspection and custom processes.
Srey Chanthy, independent economic analyst, said yesterday, that Vietnam was set to benefit from both increased trade with the Kingdom and Cambodia’s increasing trade with China.
“Cambodia is central to all other ASEAN nations. Connecting Cambodia this way is cheaper; and hopefully, they can increase trade with Cambodia at the expense of that with the US, the EU and Japan or Thailand,” he added.
Chanthy said the deal would help Vietnam improve ties with China and increase access to the Chinese market, while giving China access to Cambodia’s natural resources and agricultural raw material.
The challenge for Cambodia, he added, would be to be ready for this corridor, by diversifying its production base and investing in human resources.
According to statistics of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam in 2014 reached $3.28 billion, down 4.3 per cent compared to 2013. Of this, Vietnam accounts for $2.66 billion, down 8.7 per cent, while Cambodia upped its exports 24.1 per cent to $625 million.