CAMBODIA’S bilateral trade with Vietnam saw a further decline in October, dropping 39 percent year on year, according to official figures released Monday by the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh.
Trade was down to US$103 million in October, down from $169 during the same month last year. The fall was greater than the aggregated year-to-date slide of 29.7 percent for the first 10 months, meaning a recovery in trade with one of the Kingdom’s most important economic partners has failed to materialise. Bilateral trade was down an annualised 22.8 percent in September.
“People [in the two countries] don’t earn well, meaning they have had to cut expenses,” Le Bien Cuong, Vietnam’s commercial counsellor in Phnom Penh, said Monday, also citing a drop in Cambodia’s imports of raw materials for the key construction and garment sectors.
Two-way trade stood at $1.049 billion this year to the end of October from $1.493 billion over the same period last year.
Still, Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association, said Monday that there had been flight from Thai products to those from Vietnam in the wake of the diplomatic dispute with Bangkok.
“The more problems that exist with Thailand, the more progress is made with Vietnam,” he said, although it remained difficult to back up this claim statistically given that trade data for November – when relations with Thailand reached a recent low – will not be available for another month.
Cuong predicted trade between Cambodia and Vietnam would be down about 20 percent overall for 2009 compared with last year.