Cambodia expects to break ground on a second frontier “model market” by the end of this year, this time near the Prek Chak International Border Checkpoint that links Kampot province to Vietnam’s Kien Giang province, according to Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak.
Sorasak unveiled plans for the market following a February 27 inspection of its proposed location.
And Kampot provincial governor Cheav Tay told The Post on February 28 that an inter-ministerial committee drawn from the ministries of commerce; Economy and Finance; and Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction gave the site the green light.
This comes after the first such market, Da Market in Tbong Khmum province, was inaugurated on December 24, 2019.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the commerce ministry to work with Svay Rieng and Kampot officials to build two additional border markets in a bid to shore up border trade and enhance cooperation with Cambodia’s neighbour Vietnam.
“The market is designed to benefit exports to Vietnam. We want to use the national budget to build them. I support this initiative to develop and transform border communities,” he said, adding that he wanted the design of the market to have a distinct traditional Khmer flavour.
Sorasak said the new border “model market” will be located on 2ha in Russey Srok Khang Koeut commune’s Thkov village of Kampot’s Kampong Trach district in its first phase.
Blueprints of the market, on the other hand, show that the project will eventually cover 50ha.
The minister said: “In the first phase of the project, a network of roads in the Cambodia-Vietnam border area, a two-story building to house the market and other infrastructure will be developed.”
He added that the “model market” had been designated a “priority project” and would use $2 million from state coffers.
“I wish to ask local authorities at all levels and all stakeholders to smoothen the path for and work well with the construction company to ensure that the project is successfully completed as soon as possible. According to plans, the model [market] will be finished early next year or in mid-2022,” Sorasak said.
And provincial governor Tay stressed that the inter-ministerial committee is doing everything it can to speed through the relevant procedures so that construction can begin this year as planned.
“Through this market, border trade will be duty-free, most Cambodians [in the area] have agricultural and agro-industrial commodities that they will trade there. I hope this achievement will improve border trade and the livelihood of the people,” he said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said the second border “model market” would herald a flow of Cambodian wares into Vietnam.
“If you ask me, it’s fantastic news that we’re setting up the border model markets,” he said. “These will boost the market and price of Cambodian agricultural products – most of which we produce in excess of demand – and I hope others will be set up on the Cambodian-Thai and Cambodian-Lao borders to undergird trade cooperation.”
In 2020, the bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam reached about $5 billion, similar to the $5.3 billion in 2019, according to Vietnam’s VTV1 television channel.