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Vietnam-Cambodia trade on the upswing

Vietnam-Cambodia trade on the upswing

BILATERAL trade between Cambodia and Vietnam surged by 36 percent in the first nine months of this year, as both governments attempt to reach a US$2 billion trade target by year end.

The value of trade between the two neighbours hit $1.287 billion from January to September, up on the $946 million in last year’s first nine months, according to data from the Vietnam Trade Office at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh.

This compares to an 18.7 percent slide in trade value in 2009, compared to 2008, when total trade hit $1.332 billion.

In the first nine months, Cambodia’s exports to Vietnam rose around 47 percent to $191 million, from $130 million.

Imports from Vietnam reached $1.096 billion, an increase 34 percent on the first nine months of last year.

Secretary of State at Cambodia's Ministry of Commerce, Ok Boung, singled out trade deals signed between the two nations this year as a “significant” factor which had boosted economic activities.

“It should be increasing, because both countries have done a lot of business,” he said. Earlier this month, the Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, Vu Huy Hoang, and Cambodia’s Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh signed agreements on preferential tax rates between the two countries.

Under the agreement, 60 items originating from Cambodia can enter Vietnam tax free, with quotas on some exports.

A total of 13 Vietnamese products can be imported to Cambodia at a zero percent tax rate.

Ok Boung also emphasised that an improvement of infrastructure and cross-border connection had helped facilitate trade.

“Connections between the two countries have been upgraded,” he said.

According to the Vietnam Trade Office, Vietnam’s main exports to Cambodia included machinery for agriculture, fertiliser, seafood and petroleum.

Cambodia mainly ships garment materials and agricultural produce – such as wood, rubber, cashew nuts, rice and corn - to neighbouring Vietnam.

Vu Thinh Cuong, who is commercial counselor at Vietnam Embassy in Phnom Penh, was not available for comment yesterday.

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