September 1, 2011

Thailand re-plans trade expo in Cambodia after delay


PHNOM PENH -- Thailand has rescheduled to hold another large-scale trade fair here in February next year after the expo plan in May was postponed by Cambodia due to the two countries' border row, a Thai trade chief to Cambodia said on Thursday.

"We decide to re-plan the Thai trade expo in this country after the military confrontation between the two nations' armed forces along the disputed border has eased," Jiranan Wongmongkol, director of the Thai Embassy's Foreign Trade Promotion Office in Phnom Penh, told Xinhua on Thursday. "Moreover, the two governments have expressed their desires to solve out the border row peacefully, so it's time to re-boost the bilateral ties."

She said that about 200 Thai companies would have their products displayed at the upcoming event, which would take place at Phnom Penh's Diamond Island Exhibition Center on February 16-19 next year.

Seun Sotha, director of the Trade Promotion Department at the Ministry of Commerce, said Thursday Cambodia would welcome Thai trade fair as border tension is over.

"It will be good to boost the two neighbors' bilateral trade cooperation," he said.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand has seen the lowest growth in the first half of this year due to two large- scale armed clashes over the border dispute in February and April.

The statistics from the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh showed that the two-way trade grew by only 1.4 percent to 1.43 billion U.S. dollars in the first six months of this year.

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

Cambodia and Thailand have had sporadic border conflicts 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 eased since the Pheu Thai Party won a landslide victory in the general elections on July 3.

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