The Indonesian embassy in Phnom Penh highlights a significant milestone in the trade relationship between Indonesia and Cambodia. As of November 2023, Indonesia became the Kingdom’s 6th-largest trading partner, with total bilateral trade reaching $965.24 million.
This was conveyed during a meeting between Indonesian ambassador Santo Darmosumarto and Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sok Chenda Sophea on January 3
“This figure represents a substantial increase and is testament to the growing economic cooperation between the two nations. It is also part of elevated cooperation in celebration of 65 years of diplomatic relations,” said the embassy in a statement.
The remarkable growth in bilateral trade is further evidenced by the surge of Cambodian exports to Indonesia, ASEAN’s largest economy. In 2023, exports climbed to $70.56 million, marking a 112% increase on the previous year.
The growth in trade figures demonstrates the expanding economic ties and mutual benefits enjoyed through the strengthened partnership between both countries.
A key highlight of this burgeoning relationship was the first shipment of Cambodian milled rice to the world’s largest archipelagic nation in September 2023.
This event not only symbolised the diversification of trade commodities, but also set a precedent for more intensive bilateral economic interactions in the future, said economic analysts at the time.
During his meeting with Chenda Sophea, the ambassador emphasised the importance of translating the historical ties between Indonesia and Cambodia into concrete trade and investment cooperation.
“As we celebrate 65 years of Indonesia-Cambodia relations, we must ensure that 2024 is filled with win-win achievements through our bilateral cooperation,” he said.
Darmosumarto expressed a keen interest in further bridging between the peoples of the two countries, particularly through youth engagement in education, culture and tourism.
The embassy held the 14th Indonesia Trade & Tourism Promotion (ITTP 2023), themed “Strengthen Cooperation through Collaboration”, in August last year, an event that underscored Indonesia’s commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation.
The forum focused on fostering deeper connections in key sectors such as trade, tourism, higher education, art and culture.
Lauti Nia Astri, charge d’affaires ad interim at the embassy, addressed the event, articulating the shared aspiration of both nations to build and maintain robust ties.
The event was attended by representatives from Indonesian businesses and higher education institutions.
In her address, Nia Astri reaffirmed Indonesia’s commitment to supporting the advancement of Cambodia’s education sector.
She emphasised the crucial role of educational and skills development collaboration in strengthening the bilateral relationship.
Nia Astri explained how the focus on education highlights the broader strategy of both countries to invest in long-term, sustainable partnerships that go beyond immediate economic and trade interests, encompassing cultural and academic exchanges as key components of their growing relationship.
Chenda Sophea acknowledged the significance of the 65th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, while also proposing closer collaboration in various sectors.
“He also suggested working together in regional and multilateral forums to pursue common goals,” said the embassy statement.
The strengthening of trade ties between Cambodia and Indonesia, especially in light of the recent substantial growth, are seen as a promising sign for future collaboration, as well as the economic prosperity of both nations.
Darmosumarto also offered his appreciation for Cambodia’s support during Indonesia’s tenure as ASEAN chair.
“Our efforts were built on Cambodia’s successful chairmanship in 2022, which paved the way for Southeast Asia’s post-pandemic economic recovery,” he said.
Darmosumarto, who presented his credentials to King Norodom Sihamoni in October 2023, arrived in Cambodia in September 2023.
The two countries have enjoyed a long-standing relationship since officially establishing diplomatic ties on 13 February, 1959, with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship.