To better tap the great potential in cross-border trade with Cambodia, Vietnam has much to do, including improving the traffic infrastructure in the border area and simplify customs and trade regulations, officials have said.
Kien Giang Province, one of the province bordering Cambodia in the South West, now has 69 businesses engaged in cross-border trade with Cambodia. The province expects to see two-way trade with its Cambodian partners reach US$150 million this year. The amount will include $100 million worth of its exports to Cambodia.
The State Bank of Vietnam’s branch in Kien Giang has opened three foreign exchange agents in the province to facilitate trade, service, and tourism activities between Vietnamese and Cambodian businesses.
Trade with Cambodia has also developed in Tay Ninh Province’s Moc Bai Border Economic Zone, which attracted about 80,000 Cambodian customers last year, earning total sales of VND1.35 trillion ($71 million).
Meanwhile, An Giang Province’s Tinh Bien Border Economic Zone, which began operation in August 2009, aims to increase its sales with Cambodian companies by 30 percent to VND1 trillion this year.
|Shoppers at the duty-free hypermarket in the Moc Bai Border Economic Zone, Tay Ninh Province (Photo: VNP)|
Problems to resolve
Nguyen Minh Tri, head of the Management Board of An Giang Province’s Border Economic Zone, said: “The cross-border trade with Cambodia has a lot of development potential, but many Vietnamese businesses hesitate to be engaged in it due to some impediments.
One of the main hindrances is the cap on value of duty-free goods customers can buy at the zone, Mr. Tri said. “The cap has been fixed at VND500,000 ($26.3) per customer, and this rate fails to meet increasing demand for such goods.”
In addition, the offer of duty-free goods to customers is regulated to be terminated in 2012. This regulation is likely to constrain the development of border trade, he said. “If the Government does not to extend the term, many businesses will ‘die’.”
“Customers will never travel a long way here only to buy goods at the same prices anywhere else,” he explained. "For that reason, we have not dared to expanding business although the number of customers is on the rise.”
Another problems to the cross-border trade are the poor traffic infrastructure and cumbersome customs and quarantine procedures, he said.
To facilitate the cross-border trade, a one-stop custom policy should be adopted by both Vietnam and Cambodia in their border gate areas, Pham Thien Nghia, deputy head of the Office of the Dong Thap Province People’s Committee, said.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien said the ministry would propose the government to step up the infrastructure improvement in the borderland with Cambodia, and streamline regulations on cross-border trade.
“Vietnam-Cambodia market” to be set up
The ministry is working with the Cambodian Trade Ministry to reach an agreement on tariff preference for farm produce, Mr. Bien said.
The two agencies are also proceeding with a plan to set up a “Vietnam-Cambodia border market” to boost bilateral trade, he said.
Mr. Nghia said Dong Thap Province would concentrate efforts on developing its border economy by 2015.
The province will strengthen trade, service, and tourism activities at the Dinh Ba border gate area and expand waterway goods transport at the Thuong Phuoc border gate, he said.
Meanwhile, Vuong Binh Thanh, standing deputy chairman of An Giang Province People’ s Committee, said the province would initiate a plan to build two corridors for trade and tourism between the Mekong Delta region and Cambodia.
The trade corridor will be an expressway connecting Can Tho Province with Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, while the tourism corridor will run along southern coastal provinces of both countries, he said.
Vietnam-Cambodia trade sees continuous growth