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Minister says trade pact set with Vietnam

Minister says trade pact set with Vietnam

Trade bertween Cambodia and Vietnam reached US$1.7 billion in the first eigth months of 2008, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday after his return from a state visit to Vietnam.

"Our trade with Vietnam has increased this year. To ease the burden of cross-border trade, we have signed a new trade facilitation agreement with Vietnam," Hor Namhong said.

"Even before this agreement, we have actively traded with Vietnam because each nation has things the other nation needs," Hor Namhong  said.

He added that globalisation has connected the world and no one country can live in isolation because foreign trade fuels economic growth.

"We hope this new agreement will see trade increase to more than $2 billion by 2010," he said.

Kang Chandararot, president of the Cambodia Institute of Development Study, said the trade agreement would stimulate jobs amid a tough economic climate.

He added that closer trade ties with Vietnam could reduce costs of key goods such as construction materials, which are not made locally.

Le Bien Cuong, the commercial counselor at the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia, said the risein trade shows greater cooperation.

"We have a lot of high-quality goods to offer Cambodia," he said.

Cambodia exported about $250 million in goods to Vietnam last year, equal to about 30 percent of total exports, he said, adding that the main exports were cashews, rice and tobacco.

Le also urged Cambodia to cut import tariffs on Vietnamese goods.

He said Cambodia has tariff-free access to Vietnam for 25 agricultural goods.

Vietnam, meanwhile, must pay tariffs on all agricultural exports to Cambodia, he said.

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