Cambodia and Hungary are preparing to set up a joint committee to promote greater economic and trade ties following the official visit of Prak Sokhonn, the Deputy Prime Minister, to Hungary last week.
“The two foreign ministers underscored the need to increase bilateral trade volume in line with the existing potential.
“In this regard, the two foreign ministers agreed to introduce a number of measures towards the establishment of the joint economic committee to promote the economic and trade partnership,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement released Dec 15.
Long Kemvichet, spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce, told Khmer Times that Cambodia is open to any trade and investment relations with all partners and Hungary is no exception.
“Although bilateral trade between the two countries is not yet comparable to (Cambodia’s trade with) larger European partners, there is potential in expanding trade between Cambodia and Hungary.
“Another important aspect is attracting Hungary FDI (foreign direct investment) that may play even a bigger role in strengthening trade and investment relations between the two countries,” Mr Kemvichet said.
The Ministry of Commerce has not been notified of the establishment of this committee but when it does, the ministry will work to foster trade and encourage business activities through bilateral business forums.
“There are a number of mechanisms that can be explored, including establishing relationship between chambers of commerce and exchanging business delegations. But nothing is definite currently,” he added.
In 2017, Cambodian exports to Hungary were worth $1.82 million while imports totaled $2.27 million, Mr Kemvichet said.
Lim Heng, vice president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said the formation of the committee could potentially boost bilateral trade and spur economic activity.
“However, trade volume between Hungary and Cambodia still is low and we hope that the trade volume will be more, due to the establishment of the commission between the two countries.
“We mostly export agricultural products to Hungary, especially rice,” Mr Heng said.
Last year, Hungary opened a trade representative office in Cambodia. Both nations also signed an agreement on mutual investment protection. These recent steps gave Hungary, which hasn’t had an embassy in Cambodia since 1996, a physical presence which could help it connect with businesses within the Kingdom.
Hungary has also previously announced plans to raise its investments in the Kingdom to over $5 million in 2019, from $1 million in 2018.