According to a report from the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), Cambodian trade with Vietnam experienced a 1.3 per cent year-on-year increase in the first half of this year, amounting to over $3.302 billion. This signals a rise in the two countries’ economic cooperation.

Cambodian imports from Vietnam were valued at nearly $1.9 billion, which is more than a 10 per cent decrease against the first half of 2022.

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s exports to Vietnam rose almost 22 per cent year-over-year, exceeding $1.4 billion. This trend indicates a shifting balance in the trade dynamics between the two countries.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported that Cambodia exported more than 40 agricultural products to Vietnam in the first five months of this year.

These included paddy rice, fresh and dried cassava, raw cashew nuts, fresh mangoes, corn kernels and natural rubber.

Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Penn Sovicheat noted a rise in trade volume between the two countries, and attributed the nearly one-quarter year-on-year increase in exports to three main factors.

“Cambodia shares a border with Vietnam, making it easy to transport goods. Secondly, Vietnam’s demand for raw materials such as cashew nuts, rubber, cassava, and corn has increased due to rising processing industry production.

“Lastly, Vietnam recently entered into a free-trade agreement with Europe, increasing their need for raw materials from us,” he said, referring to a trade deal that took effect on August 1, 2020.

Sovicheat also noted that the trade balances between the two nations were not significantly different, suggesting similar demands for goods. Cambodia exported agricultural products to Vietnam and, in return, imported foodstuffs and materials from its neighbour.

Hong Vannak, an economist at the Institute of International Relations of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, commented on the impact of geographical and diplomatic factors on the trade volume between the two countries.

“Vietnam fared well before we did. They have a larger population and more overseas markets. However, we’ve seen notable growth in exports to Vietnam, inspiring us to produce more agricultural goods. But, we need to enhance the production of domestic raw materials and goods to gain additional value,” he said.

The GDCE reported that in 2022, Cambodian and Vietnamese trade volume rose by nearly 20 per cent on an annual basis to over $6.1 billion. Cambodian exports to Vietnam were valued at nearly $2.2 billion, increasing by 9 per cent increase.

In contrast, Vietnamese exports to Cambodia were valued at nearly $4.0 billion, up over 26 per cent compared to 2021.