Cambodia and Bangladesh signed yesterday a slew of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to enhance economic activity and investment between both nations and boost bilateral trade, which is now under $10 million.
In total, 11 agreements were made, including an agreement of cooperation between the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and its Bangladeshi counterpart, the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“The MoUs between the two chambers and the agreement between the two ministries of commerce will significantly increase our cooperation and bring both countries together,” said Pan Sorasak, Cambodia’s Commerce Minister.
Mr Sorasak was speaking during the Cambodia-Bangladesh Business Dialogue, a conference held yesterday in Phnom Penh and attended by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Agriculture and garments are the focal points of the new agreements, Mr Sorasak explained.
Cambodia is considering the import of environmentally friendly jute gunny bags, pharmaceuticals, ceramic ware and leather products from Bangladesh, whereas the South Asian nation is expected to buy a plethora of Cambodian agricultural products, including maize, pepper, dried cassava, cashew nuts and rice, Mr Sorasak said.
Trade and investment between the two countries is expected to double within the next five years, according to Saida Muna Tasneem, the Bangladesh Ambassador to Cambodia, who also said that bilateral trade now stands at less than $10 million.
Kith Meng, CCC’s president, said the dialogue is paving the way to enhanced economic activity between both nations.
“There are many opportunities that can come out of this relation. With both governments cooperating, I am sure the private sector will be able to capitalise on them,” Mr Meng said.
Bilateral trade has been increasing at a rate of 12 percent a year during the last two years, according to CCC figures, and reached $5.6 million in 2016.
Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, urged Cambodian businessmen and investors to explore Bangladesh for business opportunities, and said that many Bangladeshi companies are interested in the local market, particularly in the agricultural sector and the food-processing industry.
Tan Monivann, vice-president of Mong Rithy Group, Cambodia’s largest agro-industrial conglomerate, said he expected the agreements to increase opportunities for new business partnerships.
“They will build investors’ confidence on both sides and pave the way to more business partnerships,” Mr Monivann said.
Cambodian exports to Bangladesh include cotton, edible oil and fertilisers. The kingdom imports garments, footwear, leather goods and pharmaceuticals, among others, from the South Asian nation.