Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand was worth about $3.1 billion in the first four months of the year, up 18.3 per cent over the same period last year, data from the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok show.
Cambodia’s exports to Thailand during the period skyrocketed 106 per cent year-on-year to $687 million, as imports inched up 5.6 per cent year-on-year to $2.4 billion, the data showed.
The majority of Cambodia’s exports to Thailand are gemstones, jewellery, agricultural products and aluminium. Its imports mainly comprise of fuel, motorcycles, cars, gemstones and jewellery.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on Sunday that there had been no significant Covid-19-related disruptions in Cambodian-Thai trade.
Though authorities banned travel between the two countries, goods continued to flow freely between the countries, he said.
During the travel restriction period, some sectors saw a slight decline in trade, such as food and beverage, he said. Other sectors experienced high growth, such as agro-industry and agricultural production.
“This is the main reason why the two countries’ trade volume is growing at this time,” he said.
With a dose of optimism, Heng said: “I don’t believe the trade volume with Thailand will decline over the coming months.
“Given that the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak has vastly improved around the world, demand for products across all sectors is set to rebound.”
Cambodia Logistics Association president Sin Chanthy said the surge in imports and exports during the period is due to the countries trading mostly everyday necessities such as food and agricultural products.
He said the figures would have been much lower if the two countries traded more than just “basic goods”, such as machinery.
“The Covid-19 crisis has not really affected trade between the two countries. And for the time being and in the near-future, it won’t go down,” he said.
In March, Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the inauguration of National Road 55 – linking Pursat town to the Thai border in Veal Veng district’s Thma Da commune – that with the good cooperation between the two governments and the private sectors of both countries, he hopes that bilateral trade will reach $15 billion this year.
An official report from the Thai embassy in Cambodia said that last year, the total volume of trade between Cambodia and Thailand reached $9.41 billion, an increase of 12 per cent compared with $8.38 billion in 2018.
Thailand’s exports to Cambodia are worth $7.14 billion, down six per cent from $7.61 billion in 2018. The Kingdom’s exports to Thailand was $2.2 billion, up 195 per cent compared to 2018’s $768 million.
In the first nine months of this year, Thailand was the second largest exporter to Cambodia, accounting for 15 per cent of the Kingdom’s imports, following China (39 per cent), said the National Bank of Cambodia’s Annual Report 2019.
Thailand was the seventh largest importer of Cambodian goods, accounting for four per cent of the Kingdom’s exports, after the US, Japan, Germany, China, Britain and Canada.