The total value of trade between Cambodia and Singapore amounted to almost $920 million in 2023, marking an increase of over 7% compared to the previous year.

Imports from the city-state represented a substantial 94% of the figure, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

Their bilateral trade volume reached $917.45 million in 2023, a 7.1% increase from $856.9 million year-on-year. Singapore currently ranks as Cambodia’s ninth-largest trading partner.

Exports to Singapore were valued at $51.23 million, a decrease of 9.8%, while imports surged by 8.3%, totalling $866.22 million. Cambodia’s trade deficit with the wealthy island nation escalated to $814.99 million, up from $743.33 million in the preceding year.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), noted that despite Singapore’s small size within the ASEAN region, it boasts one of the fastest-growing economies and industries globally. 

He said that as a developing nation, Cambodia imports a significant amount of high-tech equipment from Singapore, while also exporting goods, predominantly textiles and agricultural products.

He highlighted the fact that both countries are members of ASEAN and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Heng anticipates that trade between the two countries will continue to grow, especially in light of strong global economic growth.

“Given the forecast for global economic growth in 2024, which is expected to surpass that of 2023, I am optimistic that both exports and imports between the two nations will see a significant increase,” he told The Post on January 24.

In addition to trade, Heng noted that Cambodia and Singapore enjoy strong relations in tourism and both benefit from direct investment by Singaporean financers.

According to the GDCE, the majority of exports to Singapore consist of garments, bags, shoes, electrical components, and agricultural and agro-industrial products. Imports from Singapore include electrical equipment, electronic components, beverages, food, construction materials and some pharmaceutical products.

To further enhance bilateral trade, Cambodia and Singapore signed the “Second Protocol” on November 2, 2023, an amendment to the double tax avoidance (DTA) and prevention of fiscal evasion agreement.

The protocol was inked by Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and Singaporean ambassador Teo Lay Cheng at the ministry’s headquarters in Phnom Penh. 

The ministry explained that the purpose of the protocol is to update the Cambodia-Singapore DTA in line with the latest international standards set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), particularly to address base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) issues.

The original agreement was signed on April 20, 2016, and came into effect on January 1, 2018.

The Kingdom received total foreign direct investment (FDI) of 185.7 trillion riel ($45.51 billion) during the first quarter of 2023, showing a 9% increase over the same period of 2022, as reported by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).

Singapore emerged as the third-largest financer in Cambodia, with an investment of 12.1 trillion riel ($2.065 billion), up 8.8% from the previous year, trailing only China and South Korea. 

Most Singaporean investments in Cambodia are in the finance, real estate, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, as per the central bank.