Coun­try urges Thais to sign trade deal

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - International Business -

CAM­BO­DIAN of­fi­cials have asked their Thai coun­ter­parts to sign a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU) on cross-bor­der trade as soon as pos­si­ble to avoid com­pli­ca­tions for trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies when new Thai reg­u­la­tions on cross-bor­der trade comes into ef­fect in mid-novem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Depart­ment of Cus­toms and Ex­cise (GDCE), a new Thai cus­toms law, due to come into force on Novem­ber 13, will make the trans­porta­tion of goods by land along the Cam­bo­dia-thai­land bor­der il­le­gal if Thai­land is not the fi­nal des­ti­na­tion or if Cam­bo­dia is not the ori­gin coun­try, a sit­u­a­tion that would have a neg­a­tive im­pact on Cam­bo­dian ex­ports.

How­ever, an MOU on cross-bor­der trade be­tween Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land an­nounced in late Oc­to­ber would le­git­imise ship­ments to or from third coun­tries, which will be done by es­tab­lish­ing six spe­cialised check­points along the bor­der.

An an­nounce­ment was re­leased yes­ter­day by the GDCE to warn com­pa­nies to get their ship­ments into Thai­land be­fore the Novem­ber 13 dead­line to avoid any prob­lems clearing cargo in case the MOU is not signed on time.

“To en­sure smooth im­port-ex­port op­er­a­tions along our mu­tual bor­der, the GDCE is work­ing hard to ne­go­ti­ate with its Thai coun­ter­parts to fi­nalise the MOU and sign it be­fore Novem­ber 13,” the GDCE an­nounce­ment said.

“The dead­line is com­ing up, but the Thai cus­toms ad­min­is­tra­tion has not ap­proved the MOU yet,” it says. “We urge all busi­ness­men and com­pa­nies to make per­ti­nent prepa­ra­tions – in­clud­ing chang­ing ship­ping routes and pos­si­bly go­ing through and al­ter­na­tive coun­try – in case the MOU is not signed on time.”

Ac­cord­ing to the GDCE’S an­nounce­ment, the con­tents of the MOU have been dis­cussed and agreed by both par­ties since Oc­to­ber 11. How­ever, the Thai gov­ern­ment still needs to re­view it and sign it.

Sin Chan­thy, the pres­i­dent of the Cam­bo­dia Freight For­warders As­so­ci­a­tion, told Kh­mer Times yes­ter­day that the Cam­bo­dian gov­ern­ment needs to push Thai­land to sign the MOU be­fore the new reg­u­la­tion kicks in.

Not do­ing so will af­fect trade, tourism and the lo­gis­tics sec­tor, he added.

Mr Chan­thy said ship­ments of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts along the Cam­bo­diathai­land bor­der must in­evitably go through the Laem Cha­bang port in eastern Thai­land.

“If Thai­land bans third coun­try ship­ments, it will af­fect im­port and ex­port op­er­a­tions in Cam­bo­dia,” he said.

“Both Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land have pledged to boost bi­lat­eral trade to $15 bil­lion. How­ever, if Thai­land’s new law comes into ef­fect, we won’t be able to reach it.

“The GDCE must act quickly to find a so­lu­tion,” Mr Chan­thy added.

Ly Utny, the pres­i­dent of the Cham­ber of Com­merce in Ban­teay Meachey province and di­rec­tor of Ly Utny Im­port and Ex­port, told Kh­mer Times he is not con­cerned about Thai­land’s new trade law as it has not come into ef­fect yet.

To avoid any com­pli­ca­tions at the bor­der, how­ever, he ad­vised trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies and im­port/ex­port en­ter­prises to get their ship­ments to Thai cus­toms at least by Novem­ber 12, a full day be­fore the new reg­u­la­tion is im­ple­mented.

Bou Bun­nara, the chief of the pub­lic re­la­tions unit at GDCE, said re­cently that Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land were work­ing hard to have the agree­ment ready and signed be­fore the Novem­ber dead­line.

Thai Prime Min­is­ter Prayut Chan-ocha pledged in Septem­ber to in­crease im­ports of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from Cam­bo­dia, open more bor­der cross­ings be­tween the na­tions and seek new ways to reach the tar­geted $15 bil­lion in bi­lat­eral trade.

“We will launch a new cus­toms law that will make it eas­ier for Cam­bo­dian busi­ness­men who want to ex­port to third coun­tries via Thai­land,” Mr Prayut added.

Bi­lat­eral trade be­tween Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land reached $5.6 bil­lion in 2016, a rise of $100 mil­lion year-onyear. Thai­land’s ex­ports to Cam­bo­dia last year were worth $4.7 bil­lion, while Cam­bo­dia’s ex­ports to Thai­land were val­ued at $937 mil­lion. – Kh­mer Times

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