Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam has maintained steady growth, reaching nearly $6.6 billion in 2023, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2022. The Kingdom’s exports increased by over 37%, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

Exports and imports between the two nations totalled $6.58 billion in 2023, a surge of 7.3% compared to $5.613 billion in 2022. Cambodia’s exports were valued at $2.97 billion, up 37.1%, while imports from the ASEAN neighbour were worth $3.61 billion, a decrease of 8.9%. 

The trade deficit for Cambodia stood at $639.62 million for 2023, significantly lower than the $1.8 billion recorded in 2022.

In December alone, trade between the two countries amounted to $707.05 million, an increase of 13.35% from $623.73 million in 2022.

Cambodia exported goods worth $361.24 million to Vietnam during the month, up 31.9%, while Vietnam’s exports stood at $345.81 million, down by 1.2% year-on-year.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), said the flow of goods between the two nations has steadily increased, as they share borders and have good political relations. 

He added that the actual figure is likely higher than the official figures recorded due to informal trade. 

Heng noted that the increase in bilateral trade volume, particularly Cambodia’s exports, reflects the country’s growing production capacity, a shift from the past reliance on monthly imports.

He added that Vietnam is a crucial market for Cambodian agricultural products. 

According to Heng, during each harvest season, many traders purchase Cambodian agricultural products for export to Vietnam, due to its more advanced processing facilities, among other advantages.

He said the two countries also benefit from numerous border crossings and connected infrastructure.

“The positive aspect of the bilateral trade balance, especially Cambodia’s exports, is that the two neighbours have good cooperation in all areas,” he added.

The CCC vice-president said that in addition to trade in goods, Vietnamese financers are investing in various sectors in Cambodia, including agriculture, industry, mineral resources, transportation and finance.

He noted that the two countries also have strong tourism relations.

The construction of the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway connecting to the Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng province is expected to enhance tourism and freight traffic between the two countries.

Uon Silot, president of the Cashew nuts Association of Cambodia (CAC), mentioned that over 90% of Cambodia’s raw cashew kernels are purchased by traders for sale in Vietnam, attributing this to its abundant capital, extensive warehousing and processing facilities, as well as broader export markets.

“Vietnam is Cambodia’s No 1 export market for raw cashew nuts. Apart from cashew, there are also many other agricultural products that are exported for sale in Vietnam,” he said.

According to the GDCE, the Kingdom’s main exports to Vietnam include paddy rice, rubber, cashew nuts, cassava, corn, bananas, mangoes, tobacco and natural resources. 

Imports from Vietnam consist of construction materials, machinery, fuel, electrical equipment, electronic components, agricultural fertiliser, spices, vegetables and fruits, among others.