A senior official from the Ministry of Commerce has proposed that more Cambodian businesspeople participate in Chinese trade fairs.

Ministry undersecretary of state Ouk Ty said he intends to encourage them to join the fairs in a bid to exchange mutual trade missions and help boost bilateral trade volume.

The ministry said the same exhibition will be held in Guangdong, China later this year.

“It is an important trade event for the exchange of goods, services, investment projects and tourism between businesspeople and investors from all over the world. It is the largest event of its kind in China. Held since 1957, it plays an important role in linking economic and trade relations between China and many other countries,” Ty said at the recent 133rd China Export-Import Fair.

He noted that Cambodian-Chinese ties recently reached new heights, moving beyond an ironclad friendship to a “diamond-level” one. Both nations are committed to jointly building progress, prosperity and mutual understanding.

Within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, he said the two governments are committed to working together to promote the building of a single Cambodian-Chinese community of common destiny and have pledged to boost bilateral trade to more than $12 billion in 2023.

“In order to achieve this growth, on behalf of the commerce ministry, I have requested that the China Export-Import Fair organising committee invite more Cambodian businesspeople to participate,” he said.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) director-general Nguon Meng Tech said this would be an excellent opportunity for Cambodian businesspeople to find partners in China. The CCC is planning to send a trade mission to China in September.

He said that after a visit to Guangzhou for business meetings, the CCC delegation will continue on to Nanning, Guangxi province, where it will attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo.

Zhang Sihong, deputy director-general of the China Foreign Trade Centre, said the fair is one of China’s major trade events.

“It is a meeting point for businesspeople from all over the world to come together and find business partners. Tens of thousands of companies, including almost 5,000 of China’s largest, are expected to attend,” he said.

Zhang said that in addition to the expo – which showcases export-import products and advanced technology – there are also many business forums and online product exhibitions throughout the year.

According to data from the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), trade between Cambodia and China in January and February totalled more than $1.7 billion, 15 per cent down on the same period in 2022.