TRADE between Cambodia and China over the first nine months of 2010 has already surpassed the total amout recorded last year, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce’s Camcontrol department obtained yesterday.
Bilateral trade totalled US$813 million in 2010 to the end of September, a 3 percent rise compared to the whole of 2009, the figures revealed.
The data was released as 16 deals were inked in Phnom Penh between officials and businessmen from the two countries, presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Wu Bangguo, chairman of the standing committee of China’s National Peoples Congress.
One of the deals saw Cambodia’s largest mobile provider, Mobitel secure US$591 million in refinancing, with the Bank of China as lead arranger.
Speaking after the meeting, Kaom Kosal, cabinet chief of Cambodia’s National Assembly, told reporters that China would import more products from Cambodia in the future, as China regarded the Kingdom as a close neighbour.
“[Wu Bangguo] will help Chinese entrepreneurs import more products from Cambodia, especially rice,” he said.
Some government officials said that trade had surged after the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement kicked in on January 1 this year, reducing tariffs on many goods.
“The recent China Free Trade Agreement helps to increase imports and exports between the two countries,” said Ministry of Commerce Secretary of State Ok Boung.
There was also increased demand for the Kingdom’s exports in China, as living standards and purchasing power was on the upswing in the People’s Republic, he said.
Cambodia’s exports have “increased because their economy is growing, so they need more imports from us”, he said. “Our economy is also improving, as we can produce more for export.”
Cambodia’s exports to China totaled $37 million in the first nine months, a 157 percent increase on shipments during the whole of 2009, according to statistics.
The Kingdom’s main exports to China include agricultural products, rubber, fish products, timber, and garments and textiles, the statistics show.
Ok Boung said Cambodia normally imported raw garment materials and machinery from the People’s Republic.
“I hope there will be an even larger increase in the future, as the two nations have done a lot of trade deals with each other,” he said.