Officials at a bilateral business meeting say Taipei is looking to strengthen ties with Southeast Asian nations in the aftermath of a major trade pact with China
CAMBODIA’S trade with Taiwan rose more than 60 percent in the first five months of this year, compared with the same period last year, an official from the Taiwan Trade Centre (TTC) told the Post yesterday.
Bilateral trade has surged 60.2 percent to US$165 million at the end of May 2010, from $103 million in the same period in 2009, said TTC Ho Chi Minh director Timothy Tso.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Phnom Penh business meeting attended by representatives of 28 Taiwanese companies, he said the island nation’s exports to the Kingdom climbed 34 percent to $160 million during the period.
Cambodia shipped $5 million the other way in the first five months, a 50 percent increase on the first five months of last year.
“As the world economy recovers I believe that bilateral trade between the two nations will increase,” Timothy Tso said.
The Kingdom maintains a “One China” policy regarding official relations with both China and Taiwan, which means it is up to individual companies rather than government officials to foster business ties, he said.
“It’s meetings like the one we held that will boost our trading relationship,” he said.
Many of the attendees said it was their first business trip to the Kingdom, and exporters such as Venus Plastic Machinery Company manager Fanny Huang said they were eager to scout the market for opportunities.
“I expect that I will find a good market and new partners while I’m here,” said Huang, whose company is already distributing its products to other countries around the world.
Cambodia’s trade with the island nation reached about $300 million in 2009, a decrease on the previous year, Tso said. He added that Taipei is looking to strengthen ties with Southeast Asia.
“Taiwan is not a member of ASEAN, but we’d like to promote trade, so we try to implement trade agreements with all member countries,” he said.
China and Taiwan signed a broad trade pact reducing trade tariffs on Tuesday, and many observers say the deal represents the closest bilateral relations since the 1949 Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War.
Taiwan was the sixth-largest source of domestic imports, according to Cambodia Chamber of Commerce president and Royal Group chairman Kith Meng.
“It has been a major investor in our garment industry,” he added.
Cambodia is an attractive destination for Taiwanese businesses because of the Kingdom’s stable political environment, Kith Meng said.
The Taiwan Commercial Association in Cambodia has seen growing membership since its 1996 inception, according to its president, Christina Yu.