The commerce minister on August 5 called on Thai players to be more actively involved in trade and investment promotion to take greater advantage of the business potential offered by Cambodia.

Pan Sorasak extended the invitation at a meeting at his ministry with Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) members and a delegation comprising representatives of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) and Board of Trade of Thailand, the ministry said in a statement later that day.

The minister expressed desire to welcome Thai investors with even greater perceived potential into the Cambodian arena to strengthen and expand bilateral business relations, and lift trade and investment between the two countries “towards mutual benefit and prosperity”.

The statement cited Sorasak as saying that trade between the two countries increased by 10.4 per cent from $3.49 billion in 2020 to $3.85 billion in 2021, whereas the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) reported an 8.57 per cent rise from $3.761 billion in 2020 to $4.084 billion in 2021.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the TCC and Board of Trade, said the visit was aimed at opening doors for new trade opportunities, “high-quality” trade fairs, and the expansion of marketing channels, especially under the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) framework, the statement recounted.

He stressed the value of trade fairs in connecting business partners from either country – including the CCC, trade associations, or members thereof – to reinforce and expand trade relations and bump up bilateral trade volumes.

CCC vice-president Lim Heng commented in the statement that the CCC and TCC have been closely collaborating on activities to promote business matching between the two countries, to bring mutual benefits and ensure the flow of business and investment.

“I’d like to encourage all traders and investors to actively participate and find more investment partners, for mutual benefits and to achieve fruitful results in the future,” he was quoted as saying.

The commerce minister also called on members of the Thai delegation to lend a hand in the organisation of Cambodia-Thailand trade missions, annual exhibitions in Phnom Penh, business forums and other key trade activities with Cambodia to strengthen bilateral trade and investment relations, the statement noted.

For reference, trade between Cambodia and Thailand rose 22.83 per cent to $2.297 billion in the first half of 2022 from $1.870 billion a year ago, according to the GDCE.

Exports to Thailand grew 36.74 per cent year-on-year to $495.778 million while imports climbed 19.49 per cent to $1.801 billion. Meanwhile, Cambodia’s trade deficit with Thailand for the January-June period stood at $1.306 billion, expanding by 14.03 per cent on a yearly basis.