Cambodia and Hungary are moving swiftly to finalise the content of the draft for the Cambodian-Hungarian Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation (JCEC), a significant step towards boosting bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.

The Ministry of Commerce, along with other relevant ministries and state institutions, organised a December 11 meeting to review the draft joint minutes of the second JCEC meeting. 

The initiative is part of the two countries’ commitment to deepen and broaden bilateral cooperation through the development of concrete action plans. 

The review meeting, chaired by Tek Reth Kamrong, secretary of state at the ministry, and attended by representatives from various governmental bodies, was a follow-up to the initial meeting held from January 20-21, 2021.

The ministry stated that the main areas of cooperation include economic, trade and investment issues; tied aid credit cooperation; and sectors such as agriculture, economy, food, food safety, forestry, fisheries, water resources management, education, youth and sport, culture, tourism, industry, science, technology and innovation and civil aviation. 

“In the realms of economy, trade and investment, both Cambodia and Hungary have demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing trade and investment volumes, despite the current low levels of bilateral trade,” the ministry stated.

“Hungarian businesspeople and investors are being encouraged to explore the trade and investment opportunities in Cambodia. [The country] is prepared to support and foster cooperation between the chambers of commerce of the two nations,” it added

Thourn Sinan, former country director of the Cambodia-Hungary Trading House, informed The Post on December 13 that following a previous hiatus, Cambodia and Hungary have been maintaining relations for over 10 years since their resumption.

He highlighted Hungary’s role within the EU and suggested that Hungary could act as a trade channel for Cambodian exports to Europe. 

“Cambodia must pay attention to strengthening and expanding cooperation with Hungary, especially in the fields of technology, agriculture and industry. Hungary could also [utilise] Cambodia [to facilitate] its imports into ASEAN markets,” he stated.

According to Sinan, the country’s past exports to Hungary included agricultural products and tobacco, while Hungary exports to Cambodia included wine, agricultural machinery and information technology. 

He also reflected on Hungary’s support to Cambodia after 1979.

“Hungary has historically aided Cambodia’s economic recovery post-1979, contributing to the re-establishment of diplomatic ties. The assistance provided by Hungary, encompassing various forms of aid, has been instrumental in fostering peace and political stability in Cambodia, thereby laying a foundation for its development,” he explained. 

Cambodia exported 1,839 tonnes of milled rice and 118 tonnes of tobacco to Hungary in 2020, as per the Ministry of Agriculture.