Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday called on the Vietnamese to invest in the Kingdom’s rice processing sector.

Speaking at an annual dinner with the Vietnamese business community in Cambodia ahead of Tet – the Vietnamese Lunar New Year – Hun Sen said the Kingdom’s annual rice exports to Vietnam amounted to between one and two million tonnes.

However, the figure, he said, is “not properly recorded”.

“We call on the Vietnamese to invest in rice processing industries, which will benefit both the Cambodian people and Vietnamese businessmen in the Kingdom.

“I am optimistic that Vietnamese and foreign investors will choose Cambodia as an investment destination,” he said.

Vietnam Business Club in Cambodia chairman Nguyen Thanh Dung said bilateral trade reached $5.2 billion last year.

He noted that Vietnam is the Kingdom’s third-largest trading partner. Vietnam has 214 registered projects in the Kingdom worth a total investment of $3.074 billion. Of these, 176 were ongoing with a total registered capital of $2.77 billion.

“Vietnamese investors focus mainly on Cambodia’s sectors such as agriculture, banking, telecommunications, information technology and processing industries,” said Dung.

However, data from the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh shows that Vietnam had 206 investment projects in Cambodia last year, with a total registered investment of $3.02 billion.

The Vietnamese account for nearly 70 per cent of total investment in the agricultural and forestry sector, and 9.4 per cent in the finance, banking and insurance sector, the data shows.

It shows that the Vietnamese have invested in projects in other sectors including aviation, mineral, manufacturing and processing, warehouse, transport, health care, construction, tourism and real estate.

Cambodia’s investment in Vietnam encompasses 21 projects with a total capital investment of nearly $64 million. It ranks 54 out of 132 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, embassy data shows.

Between 2015 and 2018, the Kingdom’s exports to Vietnam reached slightly more than $1.18 billion, while Vietnam’s exports to the Kingdom amounted to $6.96 billion, a Ministry of Commerce report said.