Prime Minister Hun Sen signed five deals with his Thai counterpart Prayuth Chan-ocha during a state visit on Friday and Saturday, aiming to strengthen bilateral ties, ramp up trade and improve the conditions of migrant workers.
The prime ministers agreed to step up border patrols to combat logging, drug and human trafficking and “transnational crimes”.
The two countries will seek to improve trade and transport by opening two checkpoints in Banteay Meanchey province and Sa Kaeo province and promote more border special economic zones. The neighbours also hope to triple bilateral trade by 2020.
A labour cooperation agreement is supposed to protect workers travelling across the border. The Thai side pledged to continue to support labour skills training, while both sides said they want to crack down on trafficking and illegal migration.
“In every conversation [with my Thai counterpart], I have never forgotten to raise issues of Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand . . . I had requested of them to take care of our workers and join hands to eliminate human trafficking and labour exploitation,” Hun Sen wrote on his Facebook page.
The state news agency AKP said that Thailand has accepted over 500,000 Cambodian workers in 2015. Chum Sounry, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the number of Cambodians who want to work in Thailand is continuing to grow and that workers require protection.
The Labour Ministry was not available for comment on the agreement yesterday.