Trade, Tourism to Get Boost Along Phnom Penh-Bangkok Route

ARANYAPRATHET-POIPET BORDER – Cambodia and Thailand are poised for a boost in trade and tourism following a new agreement taking effect today that simplifies procedures at a key border crossing between the two nations.

“The ability to move people, goods, and vehicles across borders efficiently and responsibly is at the heart of regional economic integration,” said Craig Steffensen, Country Director of Asian Development Bank’s Thailand Resident Mission, who attended the inauguration ceremony at the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border crossing.  “Today’s agreement will reduce logistics costs and facilitate economic growth and social development between Thailand, Cambodia and other Mekong nations.”

Under a bilateral agreement—which serves as an initial measure to implement the Cross Border Transport Agreement (CBTA) at the border, trucks and buses travelling along the busy Bangkok-Phnom Penh route will be able to cross the border and continue on their journeys, whereas they were previously required to stop at the border, then transfer goods and passengers to vehicles waiting on the other side.

Improved transport connectivity between the two capitals will cut travel time substantially and is expected to boost economic activity along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Southern Economic Corridor.

An initial quota of permits for trucks and non-scheduled buses crossing the border has been agreed on by the two countries, with the number to be gradually increased over time. Similar arrangements will be put in place for other GMS corridor border connection points in future.

The CBTA is a flagship initiative of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program, which aims to address inconsistent and difficult border crossing formalities such as restrictive visa requirements, restrictions on entry of motor vehicles, and the prohibition or prevention of transit traffic, all of which have been affecting regional trade and development.

To date, all GMS countries have fully ratified the CBTA main agreement and four countries have fully ratified the CBTA Annexes and Protocols.