It was announced at the inauguration of the jointly constructed Da Market in Tbong Khmum province on Tuesday that Cambodia and Vietnam are to build two more markets along their shared border to increase bilateral trade and boost the Kingdom’s exports.
Presiding over the launch, Prime Minister Hun Sen encouraged provincial officials to cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce on the construction of the two frontier markets in Svay Rieng and Kampot provinces.
Hun Sen hailed the construction of Da Market, saying it would serve as a model for future projects after having taken some 10 years of bilateral cooperation to be realised.
“I hope that [Da Market] becomes a model market for us [in promoting] the trade of goods. If the project fails, plans to set up similar markets in other provinces will also fail.
“Da Market, which is the first of its kind, will serve as the model as [the government] arranges for two more similar markets in Svay Rieng and Kampot provinces under the guidance of the Ministry of Commerce.
“The market is designed to benefit exports to Vietnam. We want to use the national budget to build them. I support this initiative to develop and transform border communities,” Hun Sen said.
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said Cambodian and Vietnamese officials signed a memorandum of understanding in July 2017 to begin work on the project.
Officials broke ground on the 19,628sqm market in Memot district’s Thary Tbong Khmum Special Economic Zone in February 2018 thanks to a $2 million grant from the Vietnamese government, he said.
“The [Da market] has great potential to create jobs, increase incomes for people near the border and boost trade between the two countries. It will also enhance relations in all areas between the two peoples and promote good cooperation between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the government of Vietnam,” Sorasak said.
Hun Sen warned that while bilateral trade with neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand had increased dramatically over the years, the Kingdom’s trade deficit needed to be addressed.
“I request that Vietnam increases imports from Cambodia. Of course, we recognise that Vietnam buys 30,000 tonnes of milled rice from Cambodia, along with other products. However, I suggest Vietnam buys other agricultural products from Cambodia, and I hope that these products will be exported to the Vietnamese market,” he said.
The prime minister said that while the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia had recorded $4.6 billion in volume of trade this year, the figure was actually more than $5 billion as people-to-people transactions were not recorded.