OFFICIALS from Cambodia and Laos said Wednesday they were optimistic about the future of bilateral trade following a rise of 4 percent last year, despite the onset of the global economic crisis.
Official figures released by the Laos Embassy in Phnom Penh showed that trade between the two ASEAN neighbours remained very low, however, at just US$274,780 in 2009 compared to $264,180 the previous year.
“Our trade will get stronger,” the Laos Embassy's First Secretary Kengchai Sixanonh said Wednesday, adding that there was considerable scope for shipments in each direction, particularly in agricultural products.
However, a 2008 trade surplus for Cambodia of $38,620 turned into a tiny deficit of $8,880 last year. And although trade improved in 2009 it was still down on the bilateral record between the two achieved in 2007: $295,037.
“Trade between us is not as much as with Vietnam and Thailand,” Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday.
Trade will pick up, he added, especially when the free trade area commences in 2015.