The lingering military standoff on the Thai border is likely
hurting trade between the two countries, an independent economist said Monday.
“Conflict between two neighboring countries does not bring
any benefits,” said Chap Sotharith, an economist and president of the Cambodian
Institute for Cooperation and Peace. “Firstly, there’s a loss of lives, and
secondly, there’s the economic loss when trade decreases.”
Trade between the two neighbors had steadily increased over
the past few years, but the border dispute, which was inflamed by the July
entry of Preah Vihear temple onto a Unesco World Heritage list, has hurt that
progress, he said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”
Much of the trade along the border is unreported, so it was
difficult to estimate the amount of trade damage the standoff is causing, but
traders on the border were being the most severely affected, he said.
runs a large trade deficit with Thailand.
In 2007, Cambodia exported
about $40 million in goods to Thailand,
but imported about $1.4 billion in goods.