Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Singapore in the first seven months of 2022 amounted to $2.608 billion, a sharp drop of 27.46 per cent compared to the $3.595 billion logged in the same period last year, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE).

During the period, Cambodian exports to Singapore were just $68.440 million, decreasing by 30.68 per cent year-on-year, and imports fell 27.37 per cent to $2.540 billion. The Kingdom’s trade deficit with the city-state narrowed by 27.27 per cent to $2.471 billion.

Singapore ranked as Cambodia’s fifth-largest trading partner, behind mainland China, the US, Vietnam and Thailand, GDCE data indicate.

Speaking at an event in Phnom Penh marking Singapore’s 57th birthday on August 10, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak underscored the city-state’s support and assistance for Cambodia, especially human resource development, which he described as an “important pillar” for the Rectangular Strategy vis-a-vis national development, regional economic integration and ASEAN Community building.

The minister also highlighted the “close and long-standing cooperation” between the two countries across a variety of fields, especially trade cooperation, which drove up bilateral trade volume by roughly one-half last year compared to 2020, despite Covid-19.

Last year, Cambodia-Singapore trade was to the tune of $5.217 billion, up by 49.53 per cent over 2020, GDCE figures show. Cambodian exports to Singapore were $119.895 million, down by 95.21 per cent, and imports were $5.097 billion, up by 416.95 per cent.

Sorasak voiced hope that, going forward, “The Strategic Framework and Programmes for Economic Recovery in the Context of Living with Covid-19 in a New Normal 2021-2023”, the new Law on Investment, and the Kingdom’s overall “favourable business and investment environment” would attract more investors from Singapore and elsewhere.

Of note, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) reported that it has approved 127 Singapore-owned investment projects worth $1.53 billion as of June 30, since the council was established in 1994.

Hong Vanak, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, confirmed to The Post on August 14 that the number of Singaporean investors in the Cambodian market is currently on the rise, explaining that ASEAN’s smallest nation has a long history of trade relations with the Kingdom and serves as a transit point for “most” Cambodian goods transported overseas through waterways.

He said that although Cambodia’s trade balance with Singapore had fallen into a deficit – the Kingdom had registered a $1.517 billion trade surplus in 2020 – the Singaporean market and cooperation with the city-state “are very important for the export of goods from Cambodia to many countries around the world”.