Cross-border trade between Cambodia and Thailand remains busy as usual despite ongoing lockdowns in parts of both countries to combat the spread of Covid19 in their respective communities, according to senior provincial officials.
Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout told The Post on April 22 that imports of noodles, fish sauce and canned goods from Thailand had seen a notable increase, and most are moved to Phnom Penh where travel restrictions continue to apply and people are encouraged to stay home.
“It could be said that goods exports from Thailand to Cambodia through Battambang province now have increased slightly compared to the same period last year,” he said, adding that Cambodian exports are mainly small amounts of cassava.
Preah Vihear provincial Department of Commerce director Phan Sam Ang said regular inspections of border trade hadn’t revealed any remarkable changes since the Khmer New Year festival ended.
While the two countries have restricted movement of people, goods are still allowed to cross normally, he said, adding that activity is relatively calm, as would be expected any year following the holiday. “Trade with Thailand is business as usual.”
Vietnam, on the other hand, barred vegetable imports from Cambodia on April 19, reportedly to prevent the spread of Covid-19 into the country. Authorities retracted the ban just two days later.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that Thailand is an important market for Cambodian agricultural and agro-industrial products, and that Cambodia imports a great deal of finished products and food products from its neighbour.
“Thailand is a country with a lot of factories and processing facilities. It is necessary to trade with each other,” he said.
The trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand reached $3.48623 billion last year, tumbling 6.4 per cent from $3.72454 billion in 2019, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.
Statistics show that Cambodia exported $650.67 million in merchandise to Thailand in 2020, up29.59 per cent year-on-year from $502.1 million, and imported $2.83556billion, down 12.01 per cent from $3.22244 million in 2019.
Cambodia’s trade deficit with Thailand narrowed by 19.7 per cent last year to $2.185 billion, compared to $2.720 billion in 2019.