Trade between Cambodia and Vietnam for the first ten months of 2023 reached nearly $5.3 billion, marking an increase of more than 5% compared to the same period in 2022. Cambodia’s General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) reported that Cambodian exports to Vietnam were valued at around $2.3 billion, indicating a significant growth of nearly 36%. During the same period, bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $5.28 billion, reflecting a 5.5% increase from the previous year. However, Vietnamese goods exported to Cambodia experienced a decrease of 9.7% and were valued at $3.01 billion.
The trade balance during this period displayed a deficit of $753.84 million for Cambodia, demonstrating a noteworthy reduction from the deficit of $1.67 billion recorded in the same timeframe in 2022. In October 2023, the trade between Cambodia and Vietnam continued to flourish, reaching $502.57 million, a substantial boost of 36.5% compared to October 2022. Cambodian exports to Vietnam during this month were valued at $223 million, showing an impressive surge of 113.5%. Conversely, Vietnamese exports to Cambodia increased by 6% and were valued at $279.57 million.
The increase in bilateral trade can be attributed to a significant contribution from Cambodia’s exports, primarily consisting of agricultural products exported to Vietnam, according to Hong Vannak, an economic researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia. He anticipates further growth as the number of investors in Cambodia continues to rise, leading to increased harvests across various sectors. Vannak also believes that the actual trade volume between Cambodia and Vietnam might be higher than official records indicate, due to the frequent exchange of goods across the peaceful border between the countries. The completion of the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway, connecting the capital to Svay Rieng province on the Vietnamese border, is expected to further boost trade and tourism.
Increased production capacity in Cambodia, along with improved border relations and Vietnamese investments in sectors such as agriculture, industry, mineral resources, transportation, and finance, have contributed to the steady growth in trade, particularly in Cambodia’s exports. Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), pointed out that both countries’ land and water borders facilitate higher exports and imports than officially recorded. Heng emphasized that Vietnam has become Cambodia’s primary market for agricultural products. Cambodian exports to Vietnam include rice, rubber, cashew, cassava, corn, bananas, mangoes, tobacco, and other natural resources. In return, Vietnam exports construction materials, machinery, fuel, electrical equipment, electronic components, agricultural fertilisers, spices, and a variety of vegetables and fruits to Cambodia.
In 2022, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam amounted to $6.13 billion, showcasing a growth rate of 19.6% compared to 2021. Cambodia’s exports to Vietnam accounted for $2.17 billion, representing a 9.2% increase, while Vietnamese exports to Cambodia reached $3.97 billion, showing a growth rate of 26.2%.