Thai Cambodia sets up special trade zone, ahead of World Court ruling

Only a few weeks ago Thailand and Cambodia exchanged harsh words at the World Court, fighting aggressively for a disputed very small track of land, mostly for “National Pride” sake. The World Court is expected to make a ruling towards the end of the year.  However, today, Thailand and Cambodia are on a path towards the setting up of a special trade zone that will see the two neighbors actively trade cassava and corn. Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said on Monday that the 4th Thailand-Cambodia Joint Trade Committee meeting, held last week, saw both countries content with the expansion of cross-border trade, which has been in line with the two neighbors’ target. Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to set an annual trade growth rate of 30 percent between 2012 and 2015. Last year, trade between both expanded by 40.5 percent to4.03 billion dollars from 2.86 billion dollars in 2011. Border trade between Thailand and Cambodia also increased significantly during the first quarter of this year, despite the two countries’ wrangle over Preah Vihear.  “The people of our two countries have a good understanding of this case as it has been going on for half century. Trade continues as normal, since both governments treat the dispute as a separate issue from business and economic ties,” said Pornsilp Patcharintanakul, vice chairman to the Thai Chamber of Commerce. Sithiporn Bangkeaw, a trade counsellor for Surin province, said that exports from Thailand’s permanent checkpoint at Chong Jom had exceeded Bt1 billion for the first time. The cross-border trade at the checkpoint was valued at Bt1.06 billion in the first three months of this year. He said that both Thais and Cambodians remained confident cross-border trade would not be effected by the Preah Vihear controversy. Commerce Ministry data shows that cross-border trade between the two countries grew 17 per cent year-on-year during the first quarter of 2013, to Bt24.03 billion. Exports from Thailand rose by nearly 18 per cent to Bt21.19 billion, while imports grew 11 per cent to Bt2.84 billion (Source).

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