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Cross-border deal inked to maintain trade amid Covid-19

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Cambodian-Vietnamese border in Bavet, Svay Rieng province. Both parties agreed to cargo trailers entering the border gates ‘white zone’ with some rules such as changing drivers, the truck cab and containers. Photo supplied

Cross-border deal inked to maintain trade amid Covid-19

Cambodia and Vietnam have agreed to allow cargo trailers to enter the common Bavet-Moc Bai border, located in Cambodia’ Svay Rieng province (Bavet) and Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province (Moc Bai) after movement restrictions were enforced to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak.

The decision was made in the meeting last week led by Cambodia’s director-general of Customs and Excise Kun Nhim, Svay Rieng provincial governor Men Vibol and the Vietnamese authorities, a press release said.

It said both parties agreed to cargo trailers entering the border gates “white zone” with some rules such as changing drivers, the truck cab and containers, it said. The rules apply until the novel coronavirus situation is under control.

It said Cambodian authorities have allowed Vietnamese cargo trailers to pass through its dry ports and facilitate distribution, but drivers must wear a full anti-virus protective suit.

The officials sought cooperation from the relevant Vietnamese authorities to ensure that drivers followed the guidelines to the letter. The rules will apply to all border areas of Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province.

“Both parties have agreed to disseminate the rules to businesses involved in the delivery of goods.

“To resolve congestion at the border, the two sides decided to implement the rules immediately and agreed that Customs authorities will facilitate operations until 10 pm,” it said.

Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association president Sin Chanthy told The Post on Sunday that the rules will help to facilitate cross-border trade between the two countries.

“Now, both sides can export and import goods properly. Raw material that is imported from China can reach garment factories in Bavet town on time,” Chanthy said.

Leaders of the two countries have pledged to achieve $5 billion in annual trade by the end of the year.

An official of the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia who asked not to be named told The Post last week that although Vietnam is strengthening measures along the border crossing due to the growing threat of Covid-19 infections, both countries remain committed to bilateral trade.

“Trade activities still happen as usual. Officials at Vietnam’s borders with Cambodia will cooperate closely with Cambodian authorities to ensure the procedures and rules are carried efficiently and properly.

“I think a decrease in bilateral trade volume cannot be avoided because the pandemic negatively impacts on all economies in the world, not only Vietnam or Cambodia.

“But on the Vietnamese side, we have already prepared trade promotion plans to increase our economic cooperation as soon as the disease is under control. So, please believe that our economic cooperation will recover soon,” said the official.

Data from the Vietnam Embassy said last year’s trade reached $4.7 billion, an increase of 23.8 per cent from 2017.

The Cambodian government also closed some border checkpoint between Cambodia and Thailand border.

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