Trade between Cambodia and Vietnam for the first ten months of 2023 totalled nearly $5.3 billion, representing an increase of more than 5% compared to the same period in 2022.

Cambodia’s exports to Vietnam amounted to nearly $2.3 billion, marking an increase of nearly 36%, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE).

From January to October, bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $5.28 billion, a 5.5% increase from $5 billion in the same period in 2022. Cambodia’s exports were valued at $2.26 billion, a 35.9% expansion, while Vietnamese goods exported to Cambodia were worth $3.01 billion, a decrease of 9.7%.

The trade balance for the period showed a deficit of $753.84 million for Cambodia, a significant reduction from $1.67 billion in the same period of 2022.

In October 2023, trade between the two countries reached $502.57 million, a 36.5% increase from $368.2 million in the same month of 2022. Cambodian exports to Vietnam were valued at $223 million, up by 113.5%, and Vietnamese exports to Cambodia totalled $279.57 million, a 6% increase.

Hong Vannak, an economic researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, stated that the increase in bilateral trade during the period was driven by a significant contribution from Cambodia’s exports, predominantly agricultural products exported to Vietnam. 

He anticipated further growth as the number of investors in the country continues to rise, leading to increased harvests across various sectors. 

“I think the actual trade volume between Cambodia and Vietnam may be higher than official records indicate, given the peaceful border between the countries and the resultant frequent exchange of goods [in that region],” he said.

He also noted that the completion of the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway, connecting the capital to Svay Rieng province on the Vietnamese border, will further elevate trade and tourism between the two countries.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), noted that increased production capacity in the country, along with a shortage of warehouses, processing plants and procurement capital, as well as improved border relations, have contributed to the steady growth in trade, particularly the country’s exports. 

He highlighted Vietnamese investments in various sectors in Cambodia, such as agriculture, industry, mineral resources, transportation and finance. 

“Given both countries have many land and water borders, exports and imports are certainly higher than recorded. Increasing domestic production capacity in Cambodia will boost Cambodia’s exports,” he stated, emphasising that Vietnam is now Cambodia’s primary market for agricultural products.

According to Heng, the Kingdom’s main exports to Vietnam include rice, rubber, cashew, cassava, corn, bananas, mangoes, tobacco and other natural resources. 

Vietnam’s exports to Cambodia comprise construction materials, machinery, fuel, electrical equipment, electronic components, agricultural fertilisers, spices and a variety of vegetables and fruits.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam totalled $6.13 billion in 2022, up 19.6% from 2021. Cambodia’s exports to Vietnam amounted to $2.17 billion, a 9.2% increase, while Vietnamese exports to Cambodia totalled $3.97 billion, up by 26.2%, according to the GDCE.