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Q1 Cambodia-Thailand trade up 16% to $1.2 billion: GDCE

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The first-quarter increase in trade between Cambodia and Thailand was primarily due to an easing of border restrictions as the Covid-19 tide ebbed, a commerce ministry spokesman says. FRESH NEWS

Q1 Cambodia-Thailand trade up 16% to $1.2 billion: GDCE

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand reached $1.174 billion in the first three months of this year, up by 16 per cent from January-March 2021, according to Customs.

In January-March 2022, Cambodian exports to Thailand amounted to $318.116 million, up by 28 per cent year-on-year, while imports clocked in at $856.647 million, up by 12 per cent year-on-year, the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) reported.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Penn Sovicheat primarily ascribed the increase in trade to an easing of border restrictions as the Covid-19 tide ebbed.

He told The Post that exporters were “prepared” to move merchandise across the border while the restrictions were in force, saying that agricultural products; second-hand clothes and other industrial goods; waste and scrap; spare parts; electrical components; and vehicles were major drivers of trade growth during the period.

“This growth momentum will continue until the end of the year, in line with the position that growth in international trade will underpin Cambodia’s economic growth this year and beyond,” Sovicheat said.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said that the uptick in trade between the neighbouring kingdoms offers a “positive sign” for bilateral trade relations, describing Thailand as a “necessary channel” for Cambodia to export agricultural products to foreign markets.

“We’ve been importing a lot of goods from Thailand because our country is a developing one, so we need raw materials such as spare parts, electrical components and many more items to be processed for export,” he said.

An on the export front, Cambodia ships out more raw materials and primary products than finished goods, due to a limited processing capacity, he said, adding that the Kingdom needs more foreign investment in the technology, human resources and infrastructure to develop productions chains.

“Cambodia could learn more from Thailand,” Heng said.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has trended up over the years – albeit with a slant in Thailand’s favour – reaching nearly $8 billion last year, up by 10 per cent over 2020, as the Thai government revealed plans to increase total cross-border trade from five-to-seven per cent on a yearly basis, according to the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok.

Last year, Cambodian exports to Thailand amounted to nearly $900 million, falling by 22 per cent year-on-year, while imports topped $7 billion, up by 16 per cent year-on-year, the embassy reported.

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