TRADE with ASEAN partner Indonesia plummeted last year, according to latest figures by the Ministry of Commerce.
Speaking at the launch of the Indonesia Trade and Tourism Promotion (ITTP) fair that started in Phnom Penh on Friday, Veng Sothy, undersecretary of state at the ministry, said bilateral trade in 2008 was just $176 million compared with $270 million the previous year. No data were available for this year, he added.
Of the total trade between the two countries last year, Cambodia’s exports accounted for just $2 million, said Veng Sothy, adding that he hoped the four-day event would help boost economic ties.
“It is … a good opportunity for the businesspeople of both countries to seek partners for trade and cooperation,” he said.
The ITTP, which was due to conclude today, was held at the Mondial Centre in Phnom Penh.
Indonesian Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya blamed the economic crisis and a subsequent drop in purchasing power on the fall in trade, adding that Cambodia’s relative lack of economic development was also a factor in bilateral trade.
“We do not import much … because Cambodia is not an industrialised country [but] based on agriculture,” he said, adding that farming products were the main Cambodian exports to Indonesia.
The Ngurah forecast that trade with Cambodia will remain at a level similar to 2008 as the regional economy starts to pick up. He said the recovery was expected to continue into 2010, when, he predicted, there will be a 20 percent year-on-year rise in bilateral trade.