Cambodia netted more than $2.6 billion from goods exported to Vietnam in the first 11 months of 2023, while bilateral trade reached nearly $6 billion, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

From January to November, exports to Vietnam stood at $2.61 billion, surging by 37.8% compared to the same period last year, while imports from Vietnam stood at $3.27 billion, down 9.7%. 

According to the GDCE, total trade between the two countries was $5.88 billion for the period, up 6.6%. 

Vietnam is currently the third-largest exporter of goods to Cambodia after China and the US. 

The country’s trade deficit fell to $655.05 million, much improved from the $1.72 billion recorded in the same interval of 2022.

For November 2023, exports and imports between the two nations clocked in at $600.83 million, increasing by 17.77%. Cambodia exported $349.81 million worth of goods to Vietnam, rising by 51.9%, while $251.02 million worth of goods were imported from Vietnam, down by 10.3%.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), said on January 1 that the uptick in domestic production capacity, especially agricultural output, has helped the country’s exports to Vietnam increase steadily in recent years. 

“The reason why most of the Cambodian goods exported to Vietnam are agricultural products is due to the fact that Cambodia still has many challenges related to storage capacity, dry silos, budget and particularly the lack of processing plants for finishing products,” he added. 

He noted that Vietnam is also an important channel for importing goods from Cambodia to other international markets.

“As land-waterway-air border adjacent countries with good diplomatic relations, trade between the people of the two countries will definitely increase, especially the export of agricultural products from Cambodia,” he said. 

Heng explained that the reason for the decline in imports from Vietnam was due to the increased production capacity in Cambodia, which allowed the country to rely on locally produced products instead of imports.

According to the GDCE, the main products that the country exports to Vietnam include paddy rice, rubber, cashews, cassava, corn, bananas, mangoes, tobacco and natural resources.

Vietnam imports construction materials, machinery, fuel, electrical equipment, electronic components, agricultural fertiliser, spices and various fruits and vegetables. 

He added that, in addition to freight traffic, the two countries also enjoy a healthy relationship in tourism.

Chea Chandara, president of the Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association (LOSCBA), said cargo and human traffic between the two countries have been positive and are expected to gain steam in the next two to three years, especially with the opening of the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway which reaches the Vietnamese border. 

He said the contiguous land and water borders have made it much easier for the two countries to export goods to each other. 

“Improving the transport infrastructure has greatly contributed to opening up opportunities for the exchange of goods and tourists of the two countries to move forward faster. I am confident that trade between the two countries will significantly increase in the future,” he said.

In 2022, bilateral trade volume between the two nations totalled $6.136 billion, up 19.6% from 2021. The Kingdom exported goods worth $2.169 billion to Vietnam, up by 9.2% and imported Vietnamese goods worth $3.967 billion, an increase of 26.2%, as per the GDCE.