Sunday, November 8, 2009

FTI chief concerned with possible border trade closure

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

BANGKOK, Nov 7 (TNA) – Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Santi Vilassakdanont on Friday voiced concerns over the ongoing tension between Thailand and Cambodia, saying business people did not want to see the situation deteriorate and lead to the border trade closure.

Unless both countries are able to find a common solution on their own, they might be well-advised to accept a country with a neutral stance such as China or ASEAN to mediate a reconciliation of their differences.

He said that Thai nationals running businesses in Cambodia such as the hotel and hospitality industry, tourism, restaurants and textiles told him that they still do business in the country as usual.

However, they are afraid the tension between both neighbouring countries would heighten. In particular, it might lead to the border trade closure, which could benefit neither country.

At present, the border trade represents 80 per cent of the Thai-Cambodian trade value. Last year, the value of the border trade between the two countries reached Bt70 billion.

But in the first eight months of this year, border trade had declined by some 20 per cent to Bt36.70 billion due to global economic sluggishness. It is expected the trade value would be around Bt50 billion for this year.

Should the border trade be closed, he said, a large amount of goods would be smuggled into the country.

Consequently, he hoped the governments of both countries would accelerate talks to find a proper solution to the problem and believed they could settle it without a need to close bilateral trade.

Still, unless both countries are able to find a common solution, they might count on the country with a neutral stance such as China and ASEAN as a mediator to reconcile their conflicts. (TNA)

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