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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indonesia trade soars in spite of world crisis

Indonesia trade soars in spite of world crisis

BILATERAL trade between Cambodia and Indonesia defied trends within ASEAN to increase by 24 percent in the first 10 months of 2009, data released Tuesday showed.

Two-way trade between the countries reached US$165 million, the Indonesian Embassy figures showed. This compares to US$133 million in the first 10 months of 2008. Figures for the last two months of 2009 have not been released.

During the same period Cambodian exports to Indonesia rose more than 76 percent to nearly $3 million from $1.7 million. Indonesian exports to Cambodia were worth $162 million from $131 million — up over 23 percent.

Total trade between the two nations for 2008 was around $162 million.

The boost comes despite a sharp decline in Cambodia’s trade with some other ASEAN countries in the past year. According to embassy figures bilateral trade between Cambodia and neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand declined around 20 percent year-on-year in 2009.

Trade with Indonesia, however, came from a smaller base hit hard in 2008 as the American sub-prime mortgage crisis affected international markets. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Indonesian-Cambodian trade plummeted an annualised 35 percent in 2008 to $176 million from $270 million in 2007. The figures, however, differ from the embassy’s latest statistics.

Indonesian Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya told the Post he has high hopes for the future of trade with Cambodia and predicted growth of more than 20 percent for 2010.

“When we hold trade exhibitions in Phnom Penh, we see more and more Cambodians who are interested in Indonesia’s exported products,” he said.

Indonesia’s primary exports consist of consumer products, pharmaceuticals, manufactured goods, machinery and electrical appliances. Cambodia mostly exports agricultural products to Indonesia.

Nguon Meng Tech, director general of Cambodia’s Chamber of Commerce, added that the Kingdom has potential to export more agricultural products to Indonesia in the future as it has a large section of the population lacking land to farm on.

International links between the two nations are also set to improve in the next 12 months. Ngurah confirmed to the Post that direct flights between the two countries should be set up some time this year.

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