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Borders still open to trade, PM says

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Workers transporting goods close to the Cambodia-Thailand border. Post staff

Borders still open to trade, PM says

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia remains open to cross-border trade with neighbouring countries, but the borders will remain closed to citizens and travelers.

His comments aim to calm public fears that the cost of consumer goods will rise after all borders with Vietnam, Thailand and Laos closed late last week to combat the spread of Covid-19. But the border closures only apply to people, not to goods trading.

“Yesterday [Tuesday], we got around $2 million in revenue from Customs at the Poipet International Border with Thailand in Banteay Meanchey.

“At the same time, we will collect the revenue from Customs taxes at the border gates with Vietnam and Laos because we’re still exchanging goods,” said Hun Sen.

An official with the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia confirmed that the two countries continue to ship goods across their border.

“Trade activities are still happening as usual. Vietnamese officials will work with their Cambodian counterparts to ensure that it’s being done well.

“I think that a decrease in bilateral trade volume cannot be avoided because this pandemic negatively impacts all economies in the world, not just Vietnam and Cambodia.

“The Vietnamese already have plans to increase trade after the pandemic ends. So, please believe that our economic cooperation will recover soon,” said the official.

Battambang provincial Department of Commerce head, Kim Huort, told The Post on Monday that closing the border checkpoints now would have little impact for farmers in the province as their harvests are nearing completion.

At the same time, he said, the news of the closure of some border checkpoint has caused farmers to delay their harvest.

“I don’t think there is a problem for Cambodian agricultural products to be exported to Thailand, but what matters is that the import of products from Thailand to Cambodia can be costly,” he said.

Cambodia and Thailand agreed to increase cross-border trade to $15 billion by the end of the year while Vietnam and Cambodia have pledged to reach $5 billion.

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