Representatives of the Kingdom’s private sector are optimistic about the pledge made by the leaders of Cambodia and Vietnam to increase their bilateral trade to $20 billion in the coming year.

Despite economic uncertainties, they emphasised that the current trade exchange with the ASEAN neighbours is on the right track.

Prime Minister Hun Manet and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh made the pledge on December 11, the first day of the former’s two-day visit. The commitment is underpinned by the close political and economic relationship between the two ASEAN neighbours, as reported by Vietnamese state-run media.

Manet and Chinh observed that the rise in interactions between various delegations of their countries have been key to accelerating cooperative efforts in numerous fields, encompassing defence and security, economic and trade partnerships, cultural initiatives, educational and training programmes and interactions aimed at fostering connections between the people of both nations.

The leaders committed to strengthening their economic connection in terms of infrastructure, institutions and policies, promoting border trade exchanges and facilitating cooperation opportunities for their business communities.

The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and its Vietnamese counterpart also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bolster the close relationship between the businessmen of the two nations on December 11.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the CCC, told The Post on December 12 that the pledge made by the two leaders is realistic given the growing trade volume each year and the strong economic and political cooperation between the countries.

“I am very optimistic that the target set … will be achieved soon, especially considering the annual increase in the number of trade exchanges. Vietnam is a significant market for our agricultural products,” he said.

Heng added both countries could complement each other in boosting exports to international markets. 

“Our countries don’t need to compete over the export of products but can complement each other. We have untapped potential in many sectors, so Vietnam can invest here and then export, benefiting from the free trade agreements [FTAs] under ASEAN and bilateral FTAs with China and South Korea as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP],” he said.

Manet highlighted the long historical relationship between the two nations as a significant factor for further enhancement in all areas at the Cambodia-Vietnam Investment and Trade Promotion Forum on December 12.

“Vietnam and Cambodia have maintained diplomatic relations for 56 years. However, the history of our relations extends far beyond that, and it will continue to grow stronger through ongoing visits and interactions between our leaders,” he said.

“The consistent interactions among our citizens demonstrate a spirit of good neighbourliness, enduring friendship, traditional cooperation and long-term stability. These are grounded in principles of mutual trust, respect, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and mutual support across social, economic, political and diplomatic arenas,” he added.