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Thailand, Cambodia May Open New Sa Kaeo Crossing Early to Boost Trade

An aerial view of the construction site of the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian Border Checkpoint with Thailand in Banteay Meanchey. (Photo: Cambodia Ministry of Public Works)
An aerial view of the construction site of the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian Border Checkpoint with Thailand in Banteay Meanchey. (Photo: Cambodia Ministry of Public Works)

Thailand and Cambodia may open a new border crossing early, even before construction of all facilities is complete in order to boost trade.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob met Tuesday with Cambodian Deputy Tourism Minister Sok Sokrenthya to discuss various joint transportation projects including the Ban Nong Ian border checkpoint in Sa Kaeo Province.

The checkpoint, which connects to Stung Bot in Cambodia, still needs construction of a customs office and completion of a border road connecting to a bridge across the border there.

But both countries are eager to boost cross-border trade, which has been hampered by the closure of checkpoints due to coronavirus controls.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit met last week with Cambodian officials about the Bang Nong Ian-Stung Bot checkpoint as well as the closed The Tha Sen crossing in Trat Province.

Thailand has reopened a total of 48 checkpoints with 49 still closed due to the pandemic.

Thailand’s cross-border trade, including transit trade, tallied 1.2 trillion baht between January and September, up 31.6 percent from the same period last year.

Last year, overall border trade, including transit trade, fell 1.7 percent from the previous year to 1.3 trillion baht.

Thailand’s Transport Ministry is working on a motorway-rail map and a land bridge project to link the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand and both projects would lead to transport networking, economic development and tourism promotion with neighboring countries.

Saksayam said both sides also exchanged opinions on Covid-19 vaccination in both countries which would pave the way for bilateral tourism promotion, especially between Thailand’s Lower Northeast and Cambodia.

Besides, the Cambodian delegation confirmed Cambodia’s support for the launch of low-cost airline flight services from Buri Ram Province to tourist destinations in Cambodia, Saksayam said.

The Thailand News Agency contributed to this report.