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Trade with Indonesia increasing 20 percent per year, officials say

Trade with Indonesia increasing 20 percent per year, officials say

The government hopes that stronger ties with Indonesia will replace  trade with Thailand that has been disrupted by the border dispute

A COMMERCE official said Sunday that bilateral trade between Cambodia and Indonesia has risen 20 percent annually since 2006.

Mao Thora, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, made the announcement during an Indonesian Trade and Tourism Promotion exhibition, saying year-on-year trade has reached US$120 million and could offset trade losses with Thailand amid an ongoing border crisis and escalating political turmoil in Bangkok.

"Indonesia is responding to Cambodian market needs with high-quality products, particularly construction materials, cosmetics, food and medicines," Mao Thora said.

He added that Cambodia hopes to boost its exports to Indonesia to balance the trade relationship in coming months.

The exhibition, which began on Sunday and runs through Wednesday, aims to highlight Indonesia's cultural heritage as well as its trade opportunities, Mao Thora said.

Harry Warganegara, vice chairman of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association, said Indonesian businesses are increasingly looking to Cambodia for investment opportunities.

"I believe that Cambodia will be one of the new tiger economies in the region, so we would like to grow with them," he said.

Warganegara said Indonesian products may be unfamiliar to Cambodian consumers, but that their quality and cost made them competitive with other foreign goods.

He added that the lack of economic safeguards has not deterred Indonesian investment in Cambodia, as companies see the potential for continued trade growth.

Trade between Cambodia and Thailand has slowed since a border standoff over disputed territory began in July.

Officials expect further losses following the closure last week of Thailand's two main airports after anti-government protestors stormed the terminals and rebuffed attempts by police to remove them.

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