Exports from Cambodia to Vietnam have recorded steady growth, rising 20.6 per cent year-on-year to $1.6 billion in the first seven months of 2023 from $1.3 billion, although trade balance dipped one per cent to $3.8 billion from the year prior.

Vietnam is Cambodia’s third largest trading partner after China and the US, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE).

Between January to July 2023, the Kingdom imported $2.1 billion worth of goods from Vietnam. However, the trade deficit for Cambodia reduced to $528.08 million compared to $1.1 billion in the corresponding period last year.

For the month of July, bilateral trade volume amounted to $424.91 million, falling 15.8 per cent from $504.45 million in July 2022. Cambodia exported $170 million worth of goods to Vietnam, up 12.1 per cent, while imports from Vietnam fell 27.8 per cent to $255 million.

Hong Vanak, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), told The Post on August 16 that the increase in domestic productivity has helped to increase Cambodia’s export capacity to international markets, especially Vietnam.

Vietnam is an important market for Cambodian agricultural products because, in addition to high working capital, Vietnam also has warehouses, drying silos and factories or processing facilities.

Vanak said the trade value between the countries could be higher than the aforementioned figures because of the exchange of goods between people living along the border is regular.

“As a country with a contiguous border and good diplomatic relations, the momentum of trade between the two nations would increase when global economic growth improves,” he added.

Apart from bilateral trade growth, Vietnamese investors are also investing in many sectors in the Kingdom.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said although international trade has not been very good in recent years, trade between Cambodia and Vietnam is, especially agricultural products which are expected to increase in future.

Trade between the two countries would continue to increase, he added, noting that both governments recently agreed on the transit of goods.

Currently, the Cambodian government and private sector are encouraging investment in local processing plants to increase the exports of finished products and reduce the imports of raw materials.

According to Lim Heng, Cambodia’s main exports to Vietnam include paddy rice, rubber, cashews, cassava, corn, bananas, mangoes, tobacco and natural resources.

Imports from Vietnam comprise construction materials, machinery, fuel, electrical and electronic equipment, agricultural fertiliser, spice, fruits and vegetables.

In 2022, bilateral trade totalled $6.1 billion, up 19.6% from 2021. Of that, exports to Vietnam amounted to $2.2 billion, rising 9.2%, while imports rose 26.2% to $4 billion, according to the GDCE.