Ministers Discuss Cambodia-Thailand Border Projects

Cambodia and Thai ministers held a bi-lateral meeting to discuss the development of the construction of three cross-border projects that will push bilateral trade and promote economic growth
Thai and Cambodian officials at bilateral meeting in Phnom Penh. Kiripost via MPWT
Thai and Cambodian officials at bilateral meeting in Phnom Penh. Kiripost via MPWT

Cambodian and Thai ministers have met to discuss major construction projects involving border crossings that will increase trade between the two countries, contributing to economic growth.

On November 10, Cambodia’s Minister of Public Work and Transport and Thailand’s Minister of Finance held bilateral meetings to strengthen cooperation in infrastructure and border transport, with three main projects on the table.

The first is to prepare the Stung Bot International Gate and road connecting to National Road No. 5, which was almost 70 percent complete at the end of October, with work accelerating.

The Stung Bot-Banang Ean border gate is the international gateway between Cambodia and Thailand that is connected by the Stung Bot bridge in Poipet City, Banteay Meanchey province and Banang Ean in Thailand.

National Road No.5 connects the five provinces of Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey.

The project is under construction at a cost of about $24 million under a loan from the Neighboring Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA). The project is being carried out by CM Grand Development Co.,Ltd and Tan Kim Eng, the Cambodia Constructor Association stated in September.

According to the Ministry of Information, security at the gateway will be heightened. It will be equipped with x-ray inspection equipment, and Cambodian and Thai customs authorities will be instructed to use scanning equipment of the same type, technique and standard to ensure vehicle inspections and the transit of goods run smoothly, quickly and efficiently.

Another project is a bridge across the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ean border. Construction has been completed, however, no agreement on a fee for bridge users has yet been agreed. Thailand wants to impose a toll charge to use the bridge, while Cambodia is urging the nation not to as the bridge was built using a grant. The Thai minister agreed to seek the approval of his leaders to review the request.

The last project is the Thmar Da International Border Gate (Victory Bridge) in Pursat province. The study of the building design has been completed and the start of construction is being considered.

Ky Sereyvath, Economic analyst told Kiripost on Friday that the expansion of more Cambodia-Thailand border infrastructures presents potential for the five provinces’ economies to grow due to increased cross-border trade.

In Pursat, the bordergate would help propel economic growth to that of other border provinces, such as Battambang and Banteay Meanchey, he said.

“As we know Pursat province is next to the Thai border. Despite the [geographical] situations, which consist of many mountains and roads, conditions are not good. That does not allow Pursat to expand its potential. As a result, this province has a weaker economic size than other provinces like Battambang and Banteay Meanchey because the border gateway is not used,” Sereyvath said.

Bilateral trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand in 2020 stood at $7,236 million, down 23.17 percent from 2019. The decline was due to the disruption caused by Covid 19, according to the Thai Ministry of Commerce.