With Vietnam’s economic relationship with Cambodia being significantly stronger than its other Asean partners, Vietnamese ambassador Vu Quang Minh said the two countries’ trade volume will reach $5.2 billion annually.

“The figure exceeds the $5 billion target set by the prime ministers of the two countries earlier,” he said.

Total trade volume for 2018 reached $4.704 billion – up 23.8 per cent from 2017. The trade volume during the first 11 months of last year reached $4.8 billion – up 13.8 per cent compared with 2018.

There are 214 registered projects in the Kingdom worth a total investment of $3.074 billion. Of these, 176 were ongoing with a total registered capital of $2.77 billion, said Minh.

In the first five months of last year, the Cambodian government approved three new projects with a total registered capital of $530,000.

A further three projects adjusted their commitments, increasing capital investment to $37.5 million in total. As a result, Vietnam is the Kingdom’s third-largest trading partner with firms investing up to $50 million as of September last year.

At the inauguration of the Da Market border marker in Tbong Khmum province last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen called for more Special Economic Zones [SEZ] along the Cambodia-Vietnam boundary so as to attract additional investments.

“We have to transform the border which was ravaged by war into the place for trade, investment, peace, cooperation, and development.

“I want more SEZs to be established along the Cambodia-Vietnam border to attract Vietnamese investors and [support] the export market. If we develop more [SEZs], we will be able to process agricultural products into finished goods for export,” Hun Sen said.

Minh said Vietnamese investments focused on the agricultural, banking, telecommunications, and manufacturing sectors.

“Investments from Vietnamese firms in Cambodia have contributed significantly to the economic development and social security of the Kingdom of Cambodia,” Minh said.

He said Cambodia had 21 investment projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of nearly $64 million – ranking number 54 among 132 partners.

He said Vietnam and Cambodia had signed several agreements to promote economic trade. They include the Double Taxation Accord and the Vietnam-Cambodia Transport Cooperation Strategy for 2018-2025.

In a bid bolster tourist visits, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the Cambodia Ministry of Tourism signed an MoU to boost tourism between the two countries.

In furtherance of this, Angkor Air launched direct flights from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, Vietnam.

“The deepening economic cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia will serve as an important foundation in bolstering better relations between the two countries in the future,” Minh said.