Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam increased only about 3.4 per cent last year compared to 2012, data from the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh showed yesterday.
An embassy official said the sluggish growth could be attributed to the political deadlock between the Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which is still boycotting parliament over election results.
“Of course, 2013 was such a difficult and busy period for the Cambodian government and the private sector as well, so and I think doing business in 2013 was not easy for all of the Kingdom’s partners,” said Tran Tu, trade attache at the Vietnamese embassy.
According to statistics, total trade volume in 2013 was $3.43 billion, up from the $3.32 billion recorded the previous year.
Cambodia’s total exports to Vietnam rose 4 per cent to $504 million last year, while during the same time Vietnam’s exports to Cambodia came to $2.93 billion, a 3.35 per cent bump from 2012.
Tu, though, was not downcast about the figures. He said bilateral trade had still increased, and that the two countries could still be on track to meet 2015 goals of $5 billion in import-export volume.
“I myself suppose that the rise will facilitate the targeted level previously set by the two governments,” he said.
While trade suffered, political instability did not have the same impact on Vietnamese foreign direct investment, which reached $302 million last year, a 250 per cent increase from $86 million in 2012, according to a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen in mid-January.
“I am pleased to see the growth of the inflow of Vietnamese investments in Cambodia in all fields,” he said.
“These investment projects have contributed to developing the local economy and creating jobs.”
Hun Sen said in his speech, which took place at a conference focusing on Vietnamese and Cambodian relations in Phnom Penh, that Vietnam is the fifth biggest investor in Cambodia, with 128 projects worth over $3 billion.
Cambodia’s main exports to Vietnam were seafood, corn, dried tobacco, rubber, paddy rice and cashew nuts.
Vietnam sent over steel, confectionary items and cereal products, garments, products derived from rubber, vegetables and fruits, paper, metal, machinery parts, vehicles and spare parts.