Bilateral trade between Cambodia and China is expected to grow with the interest shown by traders and investors during the Cambodia-Hong Kong exhibition in Phnom Penh, which featured over 40 companies.

At the opening of the exhibition on August 19, Reach Ra, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce, said the cooperation between both governments has evolved from “steel to diamond-level cooperation”.

He was pleased with the ministry’s collaboration and facilitation of diverse proposals for trade exhibitions in Cambodia which would enhance bilateral trade and elevate it to new heights.

The vision shared by both governments within the Silk Road Economic Belt framework and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is to collaborate closely in order to foster the development of a thriving Cambodian-Chinese community of common destiny.

Both parties are also committed to strengthen bilateral trade and push up the value beyond $12 billion by the end of 2023, he said.

Reach Ra also urged Major Global Marketing Co Ltd to promote and encourage large enterprises from Hong Kong to showcase their products and services to be exhibited, and foster trade and mutual investment with Cambodian businessmen.

“I hope that the exhibition would serve as a platform for business matching between Cambodia and Hong Kong that would be instrumental in bolstering trade, investment, and tourism,” he said.

Hong Vannak, an economist at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on August 21 that strong diplomatic relations as well as the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement have contributed to the steady growth of bilateral trade, particularly exports from Cambodia to China.

Vanak said the rise in exports to greater China, including Hong Kong, has played a significant role in narrowing the Cambodian trade deficit.

“Based on favourable relations between both governments and private sectors, I see that bilateral trade would continue to increase, especially Cambodia’s exports.

“In addition to that, there is a growing number of Chinese investors who are investing in Cambodia,” he added.

If Chinese authorities allow for more exports from Cambodia, particularly a greater variety of agricultural goods, the trade gap could be reduced further.

At present, Cambodia is exporting products such as milled rice, mangoes, bananas, longan, and several aquaculture products to China.

According to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE), January to July trade volume between Cambodia and China is $7.1 billion 093.59, up 1.8 per cent from approximately $7 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Goods exported to China accounted for $814.7 million, an increase of 16.2 per cent, while the imports from China inched up 0.1 per cent to $6.3 billion.

China is Cambodia’s largest international trading partner, representing 25.6 per cent of Cambodia’s total international trade volume or $27.7 billion in the first seven months of 2023.

In terms of trade balance, Cambodia recorded a $5.5 billion trade deficit in that time compared to $5.6 billion in the same period in 2022.