Cambodia and Thailand will sign a memorandum of understanding on Friday to increase the quota of buses and trucks permitted to cross the border between the two countries, a transport official said yesterday.
Nou Vatanak, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said the new agreement will increase the quota on cross-border traffic of trucks and tourist buses fourfold, up from the current 40 vehicles a day.
“More vehicle traffic will enlarge the business potential of both countries,” he said. “The flow in and out of goods such as agricultural products, manufacturing products and the number of tourists will increase, which will benefit people of both countries.”
Vatanak could not disclose the exact number of vehicles included under the new quota. However, the Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday that the Thai cabinet approved a plan to increase the quota of cross-border permits to 150, with Thailand expected to focus on cargo trucks while Cambodia was looking to send more tourist buses.
The revised quotas come as part of the Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (CBTA), which aims to liberalise cross-border transport among the six member states of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), which includes Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and southern China.
Cambodia, which became a signatory of the GMS CBTA in 2001, currently has a quota of 500 vehicles with Vietnam under a bilateral agreement. Its existing bilateral quota with Thailand of just 40 vehicles has been in place since 2002.
Bun Sothea, executive director of Tec Srun Import-Export, welcomed the new deal but noted that Thailand stood to benefit more as it had a larger number of goods and products to bring to Cambodia, while the Kingdom’s exports to Thailand remain limited.
“Our exports are made up mostly of garments and agricultural products, but Thailand has many types of products for exports,” he said.
In related news, Thai media announced yesterday that Thailand approved the construction of highway projects to connect the Thai province of Sa Kaeo with Cambodia’s Stung Bot border checkpoint, including the construction of a cross-border bridge over the Phrom Hot river to facilitate road traffic between the two countries.