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Vietnam, Cambodia Meet Over Trade, Security

Interior Minister Sar Kheng met with his Vietnamese counterpart on Tuesday in talks aimed at improving trade and relations among provinces along the border.

Trade volume between the two increased more than 120 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year. But smuggling and other trade barriers remain.

“Both sides agreed to create favorable conditions and further encourage trade and services in the border areas,” according to a government statement released following Tuesday's meeting.

The two sides also agreed to provide each other with trade preferences, simplify import and export procedures and enhance the prevention of contraband.

“Both sides also agreed to consider the possibility of upgrading the border checkpoints and/or to establish additional new border checkpoints,” according to the statement.

Officials along the border provinces say they need more work done to capitalize on trade, but that Vietnamese investment has begun to bring jobs.

“We do not have the Vietnamese in our province across the border because the road across the border has not been developed yet,” said So Neak, provincial governor of Ratanakkiri.

However, there is some trade, mostly of tools, fruit, cement and fertilizer imports, as well as rice, rubber, cassava and soybean exports.

There, Vietnamese rubber plantations have been established, employing more than 4,000 people, he said.

Similar Vietnamese plantations have employed more than 3,000 Cambodians in Kratie province, Governor Kham Phoeun told VOA Khmer.

“The Vietnamese investment and trade exchange helps boost our people's living, tax collection and work for Cambodians,” he said.