BILATERAL trade between Cambodia and Israel rose an annualised 46 percent in 2009 due to increasing investment in agriculture and telecoms, official figures from the Israeli embassy in Bangkok’s Economic Trade Office (ETO) showed Tuesday.
Total trade increased to US$4.86 million in 2009, from $3.32 million in 2008, the figures showed. Cambodian exports to Israel rose to $3.86 million last year, from $2.9 million in 2008 — an increase of 33 percent.
Israel’s exports to Cambodia increased 138 percent to $1 million from $420,000 the previous year.
“The increasing trade between Cambodia and Israel was due to increasing investment in the telecoms and agriculture sectors. Israel is very well-known in these areas,” a spokeswoman for the ETO said via email Tuesday.
She added that Israel has an established reputation for providing technology to be used in water provision and agricultural businesses.
The state also has a part to play in the telecoms, biotechnology and homeland security sectors, she said.
Ministry of Commerce (MoC) Secretary of State Ok Boung told the Post Tuesday that, despite its small population, Israel provides a good potential market for Cambodia’s agricultural exports, especially rice.
“We are just beginning to trade with [Israel], so trade should be increasing. MoC has set a target to sustain growth with existing export markets and seek new markets — that is our objective,” he said.
Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the Kingdom has the potential to export rice to Israel.
This, he said, is because Israel’s soil is not rich enough to produce sufficient amounts of the grain to satisfy domestic demand.
The embassy spokeswoman stated that currently there are around 30 Israeli busineses investing in Cambodian agriculture, tourism and real estate, adding: “Although the trade volume remains quite low, we expect to see more business investment.
“Israel is ready to invest in lands of opportunity, such as Cambodia. We expect to see more trade in 2010, thanks to recovery following the global economic crisis.”
In January, a Cambodian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce was set up to promote inter-country trade.