Cambodia and Indonesia have committed to enhancing their commerce and investment collaboration, with trade between the two nations reaching over $190 million in the first two months of 2024, showing a modest increase compared to the same period in 2023.

This pledge was made during a March 26 meeting between Sun Chanthol, first vice-president of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), and Indonesian ambassador to Cambodia Santo Darmosumarto, at the council’s Phnom Penh headquarters.

Chanthol expressed his gratitude to the Indonesian embassy in Cambodia for facilitating a recent study tour focused on the development and implementation of digital technology to promote investment. 

He also outlined Cambodia’s major ongoing investment projects, including infrastructure, roads, highways, railways, waterways, the Funan Techo Canal project, ports and logistics. 

He said the undertakings aim to create an attractive environment for direct investment in Cambodia. 

“All these projects are opportunities for Indonesian investors. The CDC is ready to enhance investment cooperation between the two countries,” Chanthol added.

Darmosumarto agreed to strengthen and expand cooperation with Cambodia, starting with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on investment promotion. 

He also invited the council to participate in upcoming health exhibitions and business forums organised by the embassy to showcase investment opportunities in both countries.

“Through strong cooperation between the Indonesian embassy … and the CDC, our friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation, especially in investment, will be further bolstered,” he stated.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Indonesia amounted to $191.7 million over the first two months of 2024, a 2.3% increase compared to the same period of 2023. Cambodia’s exports were valued at $17.7 million, a significant 139.4% increase, while Indonesian exports to Cambodia were worth $177 million, a decrease of 3.4%, according to data from the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

Cambodia’s trade deficit stood at $156.31 million for the period, a reduction from the $172.66 million recorded in the same interval of 2023. 

Indonesia ranks as Cambodia’s sixth-largest trading partner, following China, Vietnam, the US, Thailand and Japan, as per the GDCE.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), told The Post that trade volume between the two countries has been consistently rising. 

He attributed the uptick to their status as ASEAN member states, good political and economic cooperation and the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). 

He also noted that Indonesia’s larger population and its greater number of factories and enterprises enable it to have a stronger production and export capacity compared to Cambodia.

Heng is optimistic that, through the efforts of the government and private sector, the country’s exports to Indonesia – ASEAN’s largest economy – and other international markets will grow, particularly as the global economy strengthens. 

“Bilateral trade is beneficial, but Cambodia needs to enhance its export capacity to all markets. Agricultural products could play a crucial role in boosting Cambodia’s exports internationally,” he said.

In September 2023, Indonesia announced its intention to purchase 250,000 tonnes of milled rice annually from Cambodia to ensure its food security. Indonesia has also pledged to support the Kingdom’s sustainable food infrastructure by supplying fertilisers and providing training to farmers.