Cambodia and Thailand have reached an agreement on the transportation of goods and people by train across their shared border in a bid to boost trading relations between the two countries.
Local media reported that negotiations were concluded last week and that Cambodian officials are now waiting for the Thai Government to hold internal discussions ahead of signing a new agreement.
Construction works along sections of the western rail line, which stretches from Phnom Penh in Thailand to Poipet in Cambodia, ended last week. The move is expected to bring particular benefits to the freight industry, with trade between the two countries thought to be worth about $6m last year and Cambodian exports to its neighbour valued at $900m.
“Today we completed discussion on the three unresolved points. Thus negotiations have ended,” said Cambodia Minister of Transportation Sun Chanthol after meeting with his Thai counterpart Arkhom Termpittayapaisith last Friday.
Chanthol said at a press conference that a group comprised of officials from both countries has been established to carry out negotiations on the remaining details, which include procedures to follow when transporting goods across the border and the amount of cargo allowed to enter each country every day.
Termpittayapaisith further confirmed the decision by claiming that a signing ceremony is expected to take place in the next few months.
“Connecting our railway systems will boost trade in a wide range of products, including oil,” he said. “It will enhance trade and investment between the two countries, and foment travelling from one country to the other.”
According to Chanthol, Cambodia will receive three carriages and a train engine from Thailand as a donation ahead of the inauguration of the railway link. He added that while the link between Cambodia and Thailand has been finished, the operating schedule will be revealed after the two parties meet on Friday.
Cambodia Ministry of Public Works and Transportation spokesman Vasim Sorya told The Post that the two countries will soon negotiate plans to further reconstruct and expand joint train stations. “The discussions could be called the last stage before the trains can inter-operate as the connection is already complete,” he added.