Cambodia has asked Saudi Arabia to look into establishing collaborative mechanisms, on which an eventual legal framework can be built upon to encourage bilateral trade cooperation, while Riyadh announced that it plans to open an embassy in Phnom Penh, according to the commerce ministry.

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak made the request to Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Saud at a meeting on the sidelines of the 41st Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly on October 4 in Phnom Penh, the ministry said in a statement.

The proposal follows the “nearly 40 per cent” year-on-year jump in the value of imports and exports between the two countries registered in 2021, the statement pointed out.

Reflecting on the all-round progress made by Cambodia, Prince Abdulaziz vowed to bring Sorasak’s request to Saudi commerce minister Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi.

He also revealed that Saudi Arabia has decided to open an embassy in Phnom Penh to further strengthen and expand diplomatic, sports, education, trade and economic cooperation, the statement said. No specific timeframe was provided. The Saudi embassy currently accredited to Cambodia is located in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The commerce ministry indicated that Cambodia-Saudi Arabia trade volume over each year from 2018-2021 respectively came in at $16 million, $15.6 million, $19 million and $26 million.

It noted that Cambodia’s major exports to Saudi Arabia include milled rice, fruits, garments, footwear and leather goods, while imports comprise fruits, chemical fertilisers, plastics and products thereof, aluminium and construction materials.