Thursday, 10 February 2011 15:01 Soeun Say
THAI businesses have decided to continue with a trade fair in Phnom Penh later this month, after Prime Minister Hun Sen guaranteed their safety despite violent border clashes.
“We are trusting Prime Minister Hun Sen’s guarantee of safety, which made Thai traders feel a warm [reception] here,” said Jiranun Wongmongkol, commercial counselor at the Royal Thai Embassy, at a press conference at La Parranda Hotel in Phnom Penh yesterday.
“It will be a large-scale trade fair for 2011, the same as in the previous years.”
According to organisers, 200 booths have been booked for the February 17 to 20 fair, which is slated to take place at Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island Exhibition Centre.
“We want to make the border situation between Cambodia and Thailand calm down.
“That is why we still [carry on with the fair],” said Sakol Cheewakoset, president of animal feed firm CP (Cambodia), yesterday.
This year, his firm plans to invest more than US$10 million in animal feed, he said, adding he has gained confidence from the Cambodian government.
While the Thai trade fair press conference was being held yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen simultaneously confirmed it was coming to town during the closing ceremony of the annual meeting of the Ministry of Commerce, held at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theatre.
“We will provide security to protect Thai investors who want to have a trade fair in the Kingdom,” he said yesterday.
“We don’t want to spread the border dispute to affect trade cooperation.
“They [Thai businesses] want to do business and exhibit their goods in Phnom Penh. Please come in.”
Hun Sen reiterated Cambodia would protect investors and diplomats hailing from Thailand.
Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Mao Thora said the government would like the situation to return to normal, adding he hoped to see bilateral trade with Thailand increase despite the ongoing border conflict.
“We together want to grow our trade,” he said.
According to figures obtained from the Thai Embassy’s foreign trade promotion office last week, the value of two-way trade rose to $2.557 billion in 2010, growth of around 54 percent on 2009.
Thailand’s exports to Cambodia increased by around 48 percent, reaching $2.342 billion in value during 2010, the statistics showed.