Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand reached $341.8 million in the first month of 2024, marking a slight increase of 0.2% over the same period last year, as reported by the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

Imports from Thailand were valued at $236.93 million, a rise of 1.5%, while exports hit $104.87 million, a decrease of 2.7%.

Cambodia’s trade deficit stood at around $132.06 million for January, compared to $125.58 million in the same month of 2023. 

Thailand currently ranks as the country’s fourth-largest international trading partner, following China, Vietnam and the US.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on February 27 that trade between the two countries occurs daily, with Cambodia’s exports to Thailand mainly comprising natural resources and unprocessed agricultural products. 

Imports from Thailand include items such as food, daily necessities, agricultural machinery, vehicles, chemical fertilisers and construction materials, as per the GDCE.

Vanak noted that despite a decline in trade volume, the actual amount likely exceeds official records due to the extensive land and water borders shared by the two countries. 

“Due to the limited capacity of … processing in Cambodia, there is always a large flow of agricultural products and natural resources to Thailand, an important market for [these goods],” he said. 

Regarding the deficit, Vanak remarked that Cambodia’s current situation has improved, leading to a considerable reduction in the trade deficit with many countries and positive outcomes for some.

Kim Hout, director of the Department of Commerce in Battambang province, which shares its border with Thailand, stated that the exchange of goods between the two countries has been smooth. 

He said that during harvest seasons, local and foreign buyers acquire agricultural goods from Cambodian farmers, which are then processed, packaged and re-exported by Thailand, the primary market for northwest Cambodian farmers.

“Exports and imports between the two countries have made good progress, with exchanges taking place every day,” he added.

On February 7, Prime Minister Hun Manet led a high-level delegation from the government and private sector on an official visit to Thailand, during which the two kingdoms signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on several cooperation areas. 

This included trade agreements, such as the MoU on transit goods between the GDCE and its Thai counterpart, and MoUs between the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and both the Export-Import Bank of Thailand and Thailand’s Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade.

The two governments also set a goal to achieve $15 billion in bilateral trade by 2025.

According to the GDCE, trade between Cambodia and Thailand amounted to $3.71 billion in 2023, a 17% decrease from 2022. Exports to the ASEAN neighbour totalled $817.57 million, down 1.7%, while imports hit $2.89 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 20.5%.