Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam is projected to grow to $2 billion by 2010, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said yesterday at the opening ceremony of a trade fair for Vietnamese companies in Phnom Penh.
Trade between the two countries has risen steadily over the past few years from $935 million in 2006 to $1.193 billion in 2007 and then to $1.64 billion in 2008, Mr Prasidh said in a speech at the Mondial Center in Tuol Kok district, where the five-day Vietnamese Trade Fair 2009 will continue until Sunday.
“To increase the number we have to open access for businessmen as well as marketplaces along the border,” he said.
In the first seven months of 2009, bilateral trade hit $743 million, $633 million of that flowing from Vietnam to Cambodia, he said. He did not give a breakdown of how many goods flowed from Cambodia to its larger neighbor.
More than 125 companies are participating in the trade fair, displaying mainly garments but also goods such as processed food and dishware, which Cambodia produces very little of.
Trinh Ba Cam, spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy, said that the tough economic climate has hurt trade and he expressed skepticism about meeting the $2 billion trade goal next year.
“If the economy gets better, I hope that we will meet what we expect,” he said.
To that end, Mr Trinh said, trade fairs will improve ties and communication between vendors and buyers in both countries.
Mr Prasidh said establishing more trade corridors and creating a framework for bilateral trade and investment were topics of discussion for Vietnamese and Cam bodian officials and that businessmen needed to take advantage of these opportunities.
“I would like all our countries’ traders to cooperate and try to understand these golden opportunities and seize them for the sake of their own businesses,” he said.