Cambodia and Pakistan have agreed to look into setting up a joint committee between the two countries’ apex business associations, to unlock the envisaged potential of two-way trade and investment, and boost import-export flows beyond their historically limited levels, according to a Ministry of Commerce statement.

This came during a March 17 meeting between Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and Pakistani ambassador Zaheeruddin Babar Thaheem at the commerce ministry, the statement noted.

To this end, Sorasak asked Pakistan to convince the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), along with other business associations and companies to work closely and actively together through B2B (business-to-business) dialogue to create more networking opportunities.

He asked the ambassador to encourage the Pakistani private sector to explore business opportunities in the Cambodian food processing industry, especially the halal segment, as well as direct flights between the two countries to promote tourism and investment in both directions.

The ambassador highlighted the potential of Pakistani sectors such as textiles and marble, and noted that the South Asian country imports lots of palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia along with cashew nuts from Vietnam.

He also suggested that Pakistan may be able to provide technical assistance in animal husbandry if needed, according to the statement.

In 2021, Cambodian goods imports from and exports to Pakistan amounted to $39.57 million and $2.19 million, respectively, compared to $30.03 million and $2.43 million a year earlier, Trading Economics statistics show, indicating that the Kingdom’s trade deficit with the South Asian country grew by more than one-third.

Cambodia’s top export category to Pakistan that year was “organic chemicals” at $1.06 million, followed by “footwear, gaiters and the like” ($0.669M), “headgear” ($0.302M), “articles of apparel, not knit or crocheted” ($0.1085M) and “articles of apparel, knit or crocheted” ($0.029M). These correspond to chapters 29, 64, 65, 62 and 61 of the Harmonised System (HS).

Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s top import category from Pakistan was “pharmaceutical products” at $19.20 million, followed by “manmade staple fibres” ($11.48M), “raw hides and skins [other than furskins] and leather” ($5.67M), “cotton” ($1.59M) and “organic chemicals” ($0.691M). These correspond to chapters 30, 55, 41, 52 and 29 of the HS.