The Cambodian government and private sector are jointly working to expand their export market and attract more Australian investors, following a year where trade between the two nations exceeded half a billion US dollars.

In late November 2023, the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) announced a partnership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), in a collaboration aimed at hosting the Cambodia-Australia Business Forum in Melbourne, Australia, in March, thereby fostering regional cooperation and enhancing trade exchange.

Suon Sophal, deputy secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia’s (CDC) Cambodian Investment Board (CIB), emphasised the commitment of the private sector at the orientation programme on Agribusiness and Investment to Australia, held in Phnom Penh on February 23, as per the council. 

He said they plan to work closely with relevant ministries and institutions to attract Australian investment.

“The Cambodian delegation will visit Melbourne from March 5-7. The visit, aligned with the objectives of [Prime Minister Hun Manet] and various ministries, aims to draw Australian investors and boost exports of Cambodia’s semi-finished and processed products, particularly in the agricultural sector,” Sophal stated. 

CCC vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that trade between Cambodia and Australia has seen significant improvement. 

According to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), Cambodia primarily exports textiles, bicycles and agricultural products to Australia, while importing electronics, medicines and vehicles. 

Heng noted the growing presence of Australian investors in Cambodia, particularly in agriculture and mineral resources.

To further enhance trade and attract Australian financers, he said the council established representative offices in Melbourne and Sydney in mid-2023. 

He noted that the offices play a crucial role in promoting Cambodian goods and encouraging Australian investors to establish businesses in the Kingdom.

“The establishment of our representative offices in Australia is crucial in strengthening the ties between the Cambodian and Australian chambers of commerce, thereby advancing cooperation between the two countries,” Heng explained.

He also highlighted the potential for increased trade flow between the two nations as both are part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

He said the agreement is expected to accelerate economic growth and further enhance global economic recovery.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Australia amounted to $502 million in 2023, a slight decrease of 4.12% compared to 2022.

The Kingdom’s exports stood at $371 million, down by 2.1%, while imports from Australia were valued at $131 million, a decrease of 9.4%, as per the GDCE.