Trat border trade surges back to life

Trat border trade surges back to life

Trat: The value of cross-border trade between Trat and Cambodia’s Koh Kong province is expected to surge this year despite a slight drop in trade volume in the previous fiscal year.

Natthawut Saradan, assistant chief of Klongyai Customs House at Hat Lek border channel opposite Koh Kong, said Hat Lek-Koh Kong cross-border trade in the previous fiscal year amounted to 31.8 billion baht, a drop from 33.9 billion baht in the 2022 fiscal year.

The fiscal year begins on Oct 1.

From October to December last year, which marks the first quarter of the current fiscal year, trade through the channel topped 6.8 billion baht.

That volume is expected to grow for the rest of the fiscal year, averaging at least 2.9 billion baht a month, he said.

Mr Natthawut attributed the prior drop to new Cambodian regulations requiring foreign businesses to travel all the way to Phnom Penh to pay import tax duty rather than at Koh Kong.

He added a better road linking the Hat Lek immigration office and Cambodia’s immigration checkpoint was needed, and would also ramp up trade volumes and tourism revenue.

Thitidet Thongpat, deputy chairman of the Koh Kong Special Economic Zone, said the industrial estate also has played an important role in boosting the trans-border trade volume.

Goods produced at the estate, which is owned by Thai investors, are exported to Thailand through border channels in Trat, which has pushed up commerce between the countries despite Cambodia running a trade deficit.

Suneewan Nobthai, chief of Trat’s finance office, said the drop in trade via the Hat Lek channel in the previous fiscal year was also the result of Cambodia’s slowing economy.

This came as a result of general global economic sluggishness, she said.

Compounding the misery, it has hurt Cambodia’s internal demand for goods and people’s purchasing power, she added.