NR67 development to boost Cambodia-Thailand trade, tourism

The development of National Road 67 (NR67), connecting Cambodia and Thailand, is expected to enhance the trade, tourism and investment ties between the neighbouring countries.

According to reports, the Cambodian and Thailand governments agreed to develop the NR67, linking Cambodia’s Anlong Veng in Oddar Meanchey and Chong Sa-Ngam in Sisaket’s Phu Sing district of Thailand.

Bangkok Post report quoting the deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said that the Thailand cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal to loan Cambodia 983 million baht to fund the road construction project.

She said the Budget Bureau will from 2024 until 2026 supply the first half of the road construction loans, 491.50 million baht, while the rest will come from overseas funding sources.

Once the road is fully developed, it can help ease the travelling of Thailand tourists to Siem Reap, the world-famous tourist destination in the Kingdom.

The Thai News Agency quoted Perames Vudthitornetiraks, President of Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA), as saying that the project would increase the capacity of NR67 to serve more traffic and help stimulate the economy.

The TNA report said that the project would also develop transport links between Cambodian major cities and facilitate transportation along the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) under the framework of economic cooperation in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

Besides, it will build seamless connectivity with Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), increase competitiveness and facilitate regional trade and investment, it pointed out.

In accordance with the Thai Cabinet’s resolution, NEDA has granted the soft loan on the condition that the project uses material supply and equipment from Thailand no less than 50 percent of the loan amount. In addition, contractors and construction supervision companies must be of Thai nationality. The construction will take about two years, TNA report added.

Meanwhile, more than 60 Thai businesspeople, led by Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, visited Cambodia in the first week of August to discuss investment opportunities in the country. The delegation also met the Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Cham Prasidh.

The business delegation termed its visit as a move to further enhance the business, trade and investment cooperation between both countries.

The delegation also proposed that the Thai government re-establish a rail link between Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district and Cambodia’s Poi Pet to facilitate cross-border trade and boost tourism around Thailand’s eastern border.

The rail link was halted following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand reached $7.97 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 10.2 percent.

The exports from Thailand, which eyes investment opportunities in processed food, agriculture, tourism, renewable energy, plastic, and gems and jewellery sectors in the Kingdom, accounted for $7.07 billion, while imports reached $895 million.

The bilateral trade between both countries surged around 26 percent to $2.199 billion in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the data from the General Department of Customs and Excise.

The Kingdom’s exports to Thailand rose about 38 percent to $559 million, while the imports increased 24 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.