Construction began yesterday on a $2 million Vietnamese-funded market located in Tbong Khmum province’s Memot district, about 1 kilometre from the nearest border crossing between Cambodia and Vietnam.
The first-ever border market will likely be dominated by Vietnamese goods, according to Sok Heang, president of the Kampong Cham-Tbong Khmum Chamber of Commerce, but would also broaden locals’ access to products.
“Our people often cross the border to buy goods in Vietnam because they have more products than us,” Heang said. “When we have better connections to sell goods, it will help people along the border to generate income.”
Cambodian and Vietnamese officials agreed to the market project in July 2016, saying at the time it would promote trade. The finished project is set to occupy 2 hectares of land in the district’s Kandorl village, and should take about 12 months to build, according to Commerce Ministry spokesman Seang Thay.
Thay said yesterday he did not know how many stores the finished market would hold or who would be permitted to sell goods there, as those decisions would be made by a committee at a later date.
“The creation of this model market is the beginning of a new era of cross-border business cooperation between the two countries,” Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said at the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday.
Sorasak said the government’s goal was to reach $5 billion in annual trade between the two countries. The neighbours did $3.43 billion in trade over the first 11 months of 2017, a 31 percent increase over 2016, according to ministry statistics.