Prime Minister Hun Sen and other cabinet members met with a Vietnamese government delegation Tuesday to discuss the promotion of economic cooperation between Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam through a recently formed trade association, government officials said.
Eang Sophalleth, assistant to Hun Sen, said the prime minister welcomed the promotion of regional trade and investment with both neighboring countries through the Association for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The association, created six months ago by the three countries with headquarters in Vientiane, will open its second office in Phnom Penh, Eang Sophalleth said.
Hun Sen had proposed to the Vietnamese delegation, led by Lai Quang Thuc, that the association cooperate with government institutions, in particular the Council for the Development of Cambodia, to facilitate investment here, he said.
“The association will facilitate trade, improve market access and investment for companies from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in these three countries,” he added.
The delegation had meetings with several ministers, including those of the ministries of Commerce, Agriculture and Tourism, and with the CDC, according to a schedule of the delegation.
Eang Sophalleth said the organization consists of 600 businesses from all three countries, 200 of which are business investors and associations of producers.
“Vietnamese investors will come to Cambodia to invest in mining, energy and agriculture,” he said. “They will cooperate with Cambodian investors to increase investment in Cambodia.”
Vietnamese Embassy economic adviser Re Dien Cuong said that according to CDC documents he had received, the total trade between Cambodia and Vietnam in 2008 was worth $1.3 billion, which is a 51 percent increase over 2007.
In 2008, Cambodian exports to Vietnam were worth $200 million, he said. Vietnamese exports to Cambodia were estimated at $1.1 billion.