The Ministry of Commerce has invited local business owners to the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, which is scheduled from November 5-10, to network with Chinese companies and investors.

The CIIE “is one of China’s major trade events and [has become] a significant business platform for international cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment and diplomatic relations between China and all participating countries”, the ministry said in a May 31 announcement.

“On behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Participate [sic] in the World Expositions and International Trade Fair, the Ministry of Commerce has [the] great honour to inform all Cambodian businessmen, entrepreneurs, investors and producers … [that we will again] lead a trade delegation [this year] to participate [in the CIIE],” the announcement said.

Anyone interested in joining the delegation must register with the ministry by June 15, it noted.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said he would invite CCC members to the trade fair so that they can showcase their wares, seek partners and expand their networks.

“We believe that because of our free trade agreement with China, local producers will have a great opportunity to find business partners and directly communicate more about our strengths at the expo,” he said.

Customs (GDCE) statistics show that mainland China again emerged as Cambodia’s largest merchandise trading partner in 2022, with a record full-year volume of $11.686 billion – up 4.39 per cent against 2021 – representing 22.291 per cent of the Kingdom’s $52.425 billion total international merchandise trade for the year.

The Chinese mainland was the largest exporter to Cambodia last year, with a 34.89 per cent share at $10.446 billion – rising 7.86 per cent over 2021. The region also accounted for 5.52 per cent of the Kingdom’s total exports, at $1.241 billion – dipping 17.85 per cent – putting it behind only the US ($8.969 billion) and Vietnam ($2.169 billion).

The Kingdom’s trade deficit with mainland China expanded by 12.61 per cent, from $8.174 billion in 2021 to $9.205 billion in 2022, GDCE figures indicate.

In the first quarter of 2023, the two-way merchandise trade volume came to $2.862 billion, down 0.38 per cent on an annual basis. Cambodian exports to and imports from mainland China were to the tune of $328.646 million and $2.534 billion, respectively up 2.13 per cent and down 0.70 per cent.

This narrowed the Kingdom’s trade deficit with its top trading partner for the three-month period by 1.11 per cent on an annual basis to $2.205 billion, from $2.230 billion.