The value of bilateral trade between Cambodia and Laos jumped from $10-20 million previously to more than $100 million in 2020.

The surge in trade growth was revealed when Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith paid an official visit to Cambodia and attended the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Phnom Penh from February 15-17, in response to an invitation from his Cambodian counterpart, Prak Sokhonn.

Bilateral economic and trade cooperation has grown largely as a result of Laos selling electricity to Cambodia in recent years, according to the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, investment cooperation between the two countries has grown considerably, with some 30 Cambodian companies currently investing in Laos with registered investment capital of $107 million.

In addition, leading Lao businesses have invested in Cambodia, which should further strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.

Both countries’ foreign affairs ministries have agreed to push the sectors concerned to follow up on a memorandum of understanding signed by the Laos-Cambodia Joint Commission in 2019. The Kingdom will host the next Joint Commission meeting.

The two ministries also pledged to push the sectors responsible to discuss and complete demarcation of the two countries’ shared border and agreed to maintain security and order along the border.

Cambodia and Laos plan to draw up a border treaty on the agreed 465km of their shared border, equivalent to 86 per cent of the total border length of 535km. Only 14 per cent remains to be demarcated.

The two sides also agreed to broaden collaboration in trade, investment, tourism and energy, with Laos planning to boost the sale of electricity generated by dams and coal-fired power plants to Cambodia.

In addition, the two ministries agreed to support one another in the regional and international arenas, notably within frameworks relating to the UN, ASEAN and the Mekong sub-region.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Cambodia and Laos have continued to consolidate cooperative relations in areas ranging from politics to economics and socio-cultural matters.

The two nations continued reciprocal high-level visits as well as held telephone talks and video conferences to further discuss cooperation.

The two sides are also placing an emphasis on defence and security cooperation, education, sports, and efforts to combat drug trafficking.

At the local level, Phnom Penh and Vientiane have become twin cities and Siem Reap province has been twinned with Laos’ Champasak province.

During his visit, Saleumxay congratulated Cambodia on its chairmanship of ASEAN in 2022, saying Laos was ready to support the Kingdom to fulfil its role.

Saleumxay also paid calls on King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen.