Thailand to organize large-scale expo in Cambodia despite recent clashes

May 12, 2011

Thailand is to organize a large-scale trade expo here next week in order to boost bilateral trade with Cambodia despite the unsolved border dispute, said a Thai trade official on Wednesday.

The event will be run from May 19-22 at Phnom Penh's Diamond Island Exhibition Center with the participation of 260 Thai booths in order to promote Thai products in Cambodia, Jiranan Wongmongkol, director of the Thai embassy's Foreign Trade Promotion Office in Phnom Penh, said a press briefing.

"It's the second time in this year that Thailand has organized such big event in Cambodia," she said. "We're committed to boost trade relations with Cambodia regardless of border hostilities."

She said that during the expo, there will be a business forum between the two countries' chambers of commerce and another business matching forum between the two countries' businesspeople for trade cooperation opportunity.

Bilateral trades between Cambodia and Thailand mounted to 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2010. Of the figure, Cambodia exported to Thailand worth only 214 million U.S. dollars, according to the statistics from the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.

A week after the disputed Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, clashes erupted between Cambodia and Thailand as Thailand claimed of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple.

Since then, both sides have built up military forces along the border, and periodic clashes between the two countries' soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

The latest flare-up had occurred from April 22 until May 3 at the 13th century Ta Moan temple and Ta Krabei temple in Oddar Meanchey province, leaving 19 people on both sides killed and nearly 100,000 civilians fled homes for safe shelters