Cross-border trade reached $1.1billion in 2008, say govt officials
Trade with Vietnam
- $1.6bn bilateral trade be tween Cambodia and Vietnam in 2008
- $1.1bn cross-border trade the same year
- $5bn in total bilateral trade the aim by 2015-2020
TRADE between the border provinces of Cambodia and Vietnam reached $1.1 billion in 2008, a significant proportion of the $1.6 billion in two-way trade between the countries, officials from both countries said Monday.
Nguyen Cam Tu, Vietnam's vice minister of industry and trade, said that border trade had increased dramatically since last year following the signing of a bilateral memorandum of understanding on border trade facilitation.
He did not know the exact figure for 2007, he added.
"Presently border trade is getting better ... offering a good business climate to people and it will help alleviate poverty during the global economic upheavals," he said at the second meeting on the Development of Border Trade Cooperation Monday. "Moreover, as border trade increases, infrastructure will also improve and facilitate further business."
But he said he was still disappointed with the complicated paperwork required at border checkpoints, which remained a barrier to the further expansion of trade. "I proposed that the Cambodian government reform its administration to facilitate trade, improve marketplaces and support Vietnamese investors," he said.
The global crisis requires us to cooperate to enhance trade in the region.
Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh expressed similar hopes that trade would continue to increase in 2009, adding that he was "profoundly proud" of the economic and social ties that had developed between the two nations.
"At this time, the global crisis requires us to cooperate to enhance trade in the region and to coordinate on business in order to deal with current challenges," he said.
But Chap Sotharith, an economist at the Cambodian Cooperation and Peace Institute, said that cross-border trade had increased in large part due to political tensions with Thailand, which had prompted many Cambodians to stop importing Thai products. "Since Vietnam has offered free visas to Cambodians, the people can enter easily, while Thailand is very strict on our people," he said.
Vun Huy Haong, Vietnam's minister of Industry and Commerce, told Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday that trade between both countries would increase to $5 billion between 2015 and 2020, hitting $2 billion next year.
Vun was visiting Phnom Penh as part of a trade delegation.