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Cambodia, Bangladesh to strengthen trade

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodia and Bangladesh recently reached a deal to import one million tonnes of milled rice from Cambodia over five years. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia and Bangladesh are seeking to strengthen cooperation on trade and enhance and expand trade and business partnerships via a deal which will be signed in October.

The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and its Bangladesh counterpart will sign a memorandum of understanding on trade in October during an official visit by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Phnom Penh, according to the CCC.

CCC director general Ngoun Meng Tech said yesterday that the relevant parties from each country have discussed and prepared documents related to the trade deal which will pave the way for the two parties from each county to explore opportunities for investment.

“Under the deal, we will work together to seek investment opportunities, particularly to boost the trade activities of each other,” Mr Meng Tech said. “Trade leaders will come and meet to discuss what sectors they are interested in for investment.

“Our trade leaders also can start seeking investment opportunities in Bangladesh.”

Cambodia’s stable economic growth is one of the main factors why Bangladesh wishes to reach a trade deal with Cambodia, Mr Meng Tech said.

Soeng Sophary, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Commerce, said that although the two-way trade between the countries is flat, the MoU on trade cooperation will help increase trade flows.

“The amount of bilateral trade is still flat, but when we have new ties, the amount of trade will increase. We call that a win-win approach,” Ms. Sophary said.

“Bangladesh and Cambodia have the same status of LDCs [less developed countries], we need each other although we are competitors in the garments sector, but in other sectors we need Bangladesh to help us, like the rice deal we reached recently.”

Cambodia and Bangladesh recently reached a deal to import one million tonnes of milled rice from Cambodia over five years starting from 2017. Each year Cambodia will export 250,000 tonnes of milled rice – 200,000 tons of white rice and 50,000 tons of parboiled rice per year.

“While our export markets are the same in the EU, in terms of basic trade, however, such as agriculture products, we need each other,” Ms Sophary said.

The rice deal between Cambodia and Bangladesh is only the start of the growing trade volume, Ms Sophary added, saying she hoped more will be coming.

An agreement on trade and investment between Cambodia and Bangladesh was signed in 2004, but two-way trade volume is still limited. According to figures from the Bangladesh embassy, total trade between the two countries was valued at $6 million in 2015.

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