Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday highlighted the importance of opening the border gate in Pursat province’s Thma Da commune, near the border with Thailand. He urged officials to negotiate with Thai authorities to make it happen.
Hun Sen said opening the international checkpoint will increase cross-border trade and the flow of tourists between the countries.
Thma Da commune’s border gate connects with Thailand’s Chamrak sub-district in Trat province.
Speaking at the inauguration of National Road No 55, Hun Sen said opening the gate could help the countries attain their goal of reaching $15 billion in trade by the end of the year.
“I have discussed the issue with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Now, I suggest that National Defence Minister Tea Banh, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhon raise the issue of opening the Thma Da checkpoint with Thai authorities.
“Trade with Thailand is growing rapidly. By opening the international border gate, we could boost trade and also help the tourism sector. It would be beneficial for both nations,” the prime minister said.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said at the ceremony that National Road No 55 will boost cross-border trade, investment, and the tourism sector.
National Road No 55 connects Koh Kong, Battambang and Pursat provinces and goes all the way to Thma Da’s border gate.
Cambodian Ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post last month he is very optimistic about trade relations with Thailand since bilateral trade is increasing every year.
“Many major Thai businesses such as CP All Plc (the sole operator of 7-Eleven convenient stores) and TCC Group (the operator of Big C supermarkets) have pledged to expand their investment in Cambodia this year.
“Both of these investments will significantly contribute to the growing trade between the two countries.
“On the diplomatic side, Thailand and Cambodia maintain excellent relations, as reflected by our regular high-level visits and meetings, which have helped enhance mutual understanding and cooperation,” he said.
Bilateral trade between the two kingdoms was worth $9 billion last year – up 7.14 per cent from 2018’s $8.4 billion.
Sophorn said Cambodia mainly exports agricultural products to Thailand, including rice, corn, soybean, cassava, cashew nuts, and mangoes.
Cambodia imports petroleum, cooking oil, machinery, electronic equipment, construction materials, cosmetics and home appliances, among others, from Thailand.