Leaders of coastal provinces in the region on Monday agreed to reinforce trade, investment, transport and tourism ties during the third annual Cambodia-Vietnam-Thailand Economic Corridor Cooperation (CVTEC) Conference which was held via video conferencing.
Koh Kong deputy provincial governor Sreng Hong, who heads the Joint Working Group of the Four Coastal Provinces, told The Post this on Tuesday.
He said the meeting aims to provide updates on the direction of economic cooperation between the three countries.
The conference will hopefully lift relations between the countries to new heights, especially in the post-Covid-19 world, he added.
“Thailand and Vietnam have expressed their intention to encourage investors and tourists to consider Cambodia, especially its four coastal provinces,” Hong said, referring to Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
The Cambodian side highlighted a lot of potential opportunities to better prepare for an influx of investors, pending the outcomes arising from the meeting which, he stressed, are very important for the Kingdom.
“There are golden opportunities in all sectors and in all localities in Cambodia, above all in special economic zones which have the most favourable investment conditions,” Hong said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said enhanced regional cooperation would be a substantial boon for the economy – especially concerning livelihoods – enabling the improved cross-border movement of people and goods.
This, he said, will indubitably lead to a surge in trade activity, transport volume and number of tourists. “Cooperation in any shape or form customarily exerts a positive effect on economic growth and investment.”
But with increased regional cooperation, the Kingdom must adapt the management and implementation of the law accordingly, he warned.
Failure to do so will result in out-of-control levels of illegal cross-border movements of goods, lost tax revenue and mounting hurdles for legal exporters, he added.
Last year, the trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand reached more than $9.41 billion, up 12 per cent from $8.38 billion in 2018.
Of that, Cambodia exported more than $2.2 billion worth of goods, up 195 per cent, and imported $7.14 billion, down six per cent.
Meanwhile, bilateral trade with Vietnam was worth nearly $5.3 billion last year, up 11 per cent from 2018. The Kingdom shipped $901 million worth of goods, up seven per cent, and purchased $4.4 billion in goods from Vietnam, up 16 per cent.