August 17, 2011

Border row hampers Cambodian, Thai trade growth in first half


PHNOM PENH, Aug. 16 -- The bilateral trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand has seen a 1.4 percent rise in the first half of this year; it's the first-ever lowest growth between the two neighboring countries' trade due to armed clashes over the border dispute in February and in April.

However, officials hope that the two neighbors' trade ties will be restored under the new Thai government led by Pheu Thai Party.

From January to June this year, the bilateral trade was 1.43 billion U.S. dollars, 1.4 percent increase from 1.41 billion U.S. dollars at the same period last year, according to the statistics provided by Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

Cambodia's export to Thailand was 98 million U.S. dollars, 18 percent drop from 119 million U.S. dollars at the same period last year, while Thailand's export to Cambodia mounted to 1.33 billion U.S. dollars, 3 percent rise from 1.29 billion U.S. dollars.

Jiranan Wongmongkol, director of the Thai embassy's Foreign Trade Promotion Office in Phnom Penh, attributed the slight growth to the border clashes in February and April. "However, I believe that the two countries'bilateral trade will be much improved from the second half of this year due to the newly formed Thai government has vowed to restore good cooperation with its neighboring countries," she said Tuesday.

Last year, bilateral trades between Cambodia and Thailand increased up to 54 percent to 2.54 billion U.S. dollars.

Cambodia and Thailand have had sporadic border conflict over territorial dispute near the Preah Vihear temple since the UNESCO listed Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

Since then, both sides have built up military forces along the border and periodic clashes have happened, resulting in the deaths of troops and civilians on both sides.

However, the military tension has been eased since the former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party won a landslide victory in the general elections on July 3.

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