Cambodia’s shared cultural features, consumption habits and demand patterns with Vietnam position the Kingdom as a high-potential market for businesses based in its eastern neighbouring country, senior Vietnamese trade officials affirmed, as the leaders of the two ASEAN nations pledge to ratchet up bilateral trade and investment.
Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade deputy director for trade promotion, Le Hoang Tai, underscored that firm Cambodia-Vietnam relations have brought a wealth of promising opportunities for businesspeople and investors from both countries to expand their economic bases, according to Viet Nam News on July 4.
The buoyant prospects of the Cambodian market for Vietnamese businesses are underpinned by the two countries’ “open policies” that build a conducive environment for trade, he said.
However, Tai stressed that Vietnamese firms must meticulously study the intricacies of the Cambodian arena to boost exports to the Kingdom and capture a larger slice of the market.
Phan Van Truong, head of the Vietnam Trade Office in Cambodia, agreed, commenting that the common denominators between the two countries facilitate the entry of Vietnamese goods into the Kingdom, as reported by Viet Nam News.
The ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and other regional initiatives provide a variety of avenues for businesses and other parties based in Cambodia, Vietnam, the economic-political union’s eight other member states, and nearby countries to step up investment, improve their value chains, and ship more merchandise into and within the bloc, he said.
Late last month, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen revealed that the government had allocated 11.76sq km of a former battle zone in eastern Tbong Khmum province near the Vietnamese border for a special economic zone (SEZ), in a bid to stimulate development in the area and trade with Vietnam.
The premier was speaking on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of June 20, 1977 – the day he fled to Vietnam through Memot district’s Tonloung commune along with four comrades, on a mission to liberate the Kingdom from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime – at a commemoration ceremony for the achievements made at the military historical site of Techo Koh Thmor X-16 in Koh Thmor village of that commune.
The zone will provide a convenient location for producers and traders to exchange goods to be moved into Vietnam, and serve as a processing hub for agricultural products brought in from northeast Cambodia, he said.
Speaking to The Post on June 20, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said that both governments always strive to create an environment that stimulates goods exchange at the border as well as bilateral trade.
“Vietnam is a major buyer of Cambodian agricultural products for processing and re-export, whereas most local investors would not be able to afford to stockpile and process them for export,” he said, adding that this symbiotic mutual relationship would underpin growth in bilateral trade.
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam totalled $2.78941 billion in the first five months of 2022, representing a 20.27 per cent increase from the $2.3193 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise.
In January-May, Cambodian exports to Vietnam clocked in at $1.07901 billion, rising by 3.4 per cent year-on-year, and imports were to the tune of $1.7104 billion, a 34 per cent uptick. The Kingdom’s trade deficit for the period expanded by more than 170.85 per cent year-on-year to $631.388 million, from $233.110 million in 2021.