The south-western border province of An Giang introduced its duty free Tinh Bien trade zone and announced a festival to spotlight Vietnam’s ‘high-quality products’, at a press briefing in Phnom Penh on August 18.

The Tinh Bien trade zone has been given preferential tax policies, including exemptions on import-export tariffs, value added taxes (VAT) and special consumption taxes, in an effort to boost exports to neighbouring Cambodia .

The zone was put into operation early 2009 and has drawn 43 investors so far.

The Vietnamese High Quality Products Club President, Vu Kim Hanh, said Tinh Bien is one of the three border gates with Cambodia in An Giang province, which are used for 70 percent of the total two-way trade between the countries.

The opening of the Tinh Bien duty-free trade zone is an opportunity for businesses and consumers from the two countries to either set up long-term partnerships or make good choices when selecting Vietnamese products and imports from other countries.

Two-way trade revenues between the two countries increased from 935 million USD in 2006 to almost 1.7 billion USD in 2008.

Economists forecast that bilateral trade will reach 2 billion USD next year despite a precipitous year-on-year slide of 30 percent in the first five months of the year, standing at just 520 million USD.

The provincial administration also announced that some 60 Vietnamese businesses have registered for participation at the festival on high-quality, Made-in-Vietnam products for export to Cambodia , scheduled to take place at the Tinh Bien International Border Gate on August 22-23.

There will also be a workshop among businesses from Phnom Penh and Takeo and Kandal provinces and Vietnamese partners./.