Cambodia and Singapore have pledged to step up cooperation to bolster bilateral trade, after registering more than $5.2 billion last year, marking a nearly 50 per cent jump over 2020.

The commitment was made at a bilateral meeting on May 18 between Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and his Singaporean counterpart Gan Kim Yong in Bali, Indonesia.

Sorasak took the occasion to thank Gan for the Singaporean Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s support for Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship, pledging to work hard to spur bilateral trade.

“We are committed to continuing cooperation to bolster bilateral trade between Cambodia and Singapore, taking it to greater heights,” he said.

Both sides agreed to arrange an event soon in Singapore for stakeholders to share experiences and explore key areas of interest further in-depth, in hopes of improving the capacity of the private sector, especially Cambodia-based micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSME).

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, suggested that the success of international trade hinges on the export portfolios of each country, adding that expansions in networks of business relationships correlate to more and stronger benefits.

Given its proximity to Cambodia and deep-sea ports, forging deeper relations with Singapore will improve freight transportation from Cambodia to the world, he said.

“All relations, whether in diplomacy or trade, are positive for boosting the national economy,” Vanak told The Post on May 19.

Cambodia’s main export to Singapore is agricultural products like Kampot pepper, palm sugar, mango and milled rice, he said, listing notable imports such as fuel, machinery, electronics, food, beverages, paper and precious stones.

For reference, last year, the trade volume between the two countries totalled $5.217 billion, up 49.5 per cent year-on-year from $3.48861 billion. Of that, Cambodian exports to Singapore were worth $119.89 million, down 95.2 per cent, and imports $5.0971 billion, rising by 417 per cent, General Department of Customs and Excise data show.

In the first four months of 2022, bilateral trade amounted to $1.20198 billion, falling 57.3 per cent year-on-year. Cambodian exports to Singapore reached $50.22 million, up 248.3 per cent, and imports $1.15175 million, shrinking by 58.9 per cent.

As of end-2021, foreign direct investment in Cambodia totalled $41 billion, up by 11.2 per cent from 2020, according to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC). Singapore was the third largest investor in the Kingdom with $2.7 billion, after China ($18 billion) and South Korea ($4.9 billion).