Blocked Cassava Permitted Into Thailand

Cambodian cassava exports to Thailand resumed yesterday along the Banteay Meanchey province border after Thai commerce officials agreed to expedite the granting of licenses that had prevented 1,600 tons of cassava from entering Thailand, officials and exporters said.

The cassava, which had been stuck in trucks and warehouses at the Thai-Cambodian border in Thma Puok district since Sunday, was allowed to pass yesterday af­ternoon following a meeting with com­merce officials from both countries, said Sok Sopheak, di­rector general of the department of international trade at the Min­istry of Commerce.

“They granted the licenses, and everything has been released,” said Mr. Sopheak, who held a meeting with Thai commerce officials on the border after a request from Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh. “They committed to amend the regulations so that they do not disturb trade because these regulations do not comply with the Asean agreement.”

Mr. Sopheak said Thailand imposed the new license requirement in an effort to identify Cam­bodian cassava, which Thai farmers were selling to the government for a higher rate as part of a subsidy program.

“The Thai government has recognized that this is something they have to prevent, [but] they can regulate their cassava, not ours,” he said, adding that the three-day disruption in exports had a negative impact on Cambodian cassava farmers. “These trucks were stuck at the border for over three days and companies had to pay several hundred thousand baht, so we had to call an immediate meeting.”

Sina Chan, the owner of a cassava export company that bears her name, said she had 1,230 tons of cassava stuck at the border.

“I would like to thank both commerce ministries that solved this problem for me,” Ms. Chan said.


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