TRADE between Cambodia and Malaysia soared 75 percent year-on-year for the first four months of 2011, largely because of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, officials said yesterday.
Total trade volume between January and April rose significantly to US$100.6 million from $57.5 million in the same period of 2010, said Pan Sorasak, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce.
Cambodia and Malaysia have enjoyed a “longstanding and healthy” bilateral relationship, he added while speaking at the second Malaysia Solo Fair in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
“I believe that, as ASEAN members, Cambodia and Malaysia will continue to pursue active trade by utilizing the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement as a tool for trade development. And Cambodia expects to see stronger trade growth with Malaysia this year,” he said at the trade event.
Datuk pengiran Hj.Mohd Hussein bin Datuk Pg Hj.Mohd Tahir Nasruddin, Malaysia’s ambassador to Cambodia, called on Malaysia’s investment and business community to take advantage of the growing Cambodian market.
“I therefore urge the businessmen present here today, to be responsive and leverage the provisions of AFTA and other bilateral agreements between Cambodia and Malaysia,” he said. “We must continue to work for improved trade relations. Now is the time to mobilise our resources collectively for the economic development of ASEAN as a whole.” He said Cambodia and Malaysia have “an important and responsible role to play” in setting an example to other ASEAN members to follow.
Cambodia’s exports to Malaysia for the first four months of the year reached $18.6 million, a nearly five-fold increase from $3.2 million year-on-year.
At the same time, Cambodia imported $82 million worth of goods from Malaysia during the period, a rise of 54 percent year-on-year.
Trade between the two countries usually involves Cambodian exports of crude rubber, textiles and clothing and palm oil, while Malaysia exports processed foods, chemical products and electronics, among other items.
In 2010, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Malaysia reached $229.7 million.
According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, approved investment from Malaysia in 2010 was $167 million, making it the third biggest foreign investor in the Kingdom .