Cambodia and Thailand Set Sights on Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership
Strengthening Collaboration in Key Sectors
In a recent meeting between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet and his Thai counterpart Srettha Thavisin, the two nations pledged to bolster cooperation in trade, investment, connectivity, and the digital economy. This commitment comes as part of a broader dialogue between the two nations on a variety of sectors, including tourism, education, vocational training, diplomacy, and business relations. A joint press release from the meeting called for the continuation of discussions and cooperation for mutual benefits.
Trade Between Cambodia and Thailand
Despite a 19.9% decrease in bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand this year, Cambodian exports to Thailand experienced a 5.4% rise. This increase, according to a report from the General Department of Customs and Excise, signifies growth in Cambodia’s industrial and agricultural sectors. While Thai imports to Cambodia saw a decline, the demand for Cambodian products in Thailand remained strong.
Main exports from Cambodia to Thailand include textiles, agricultural products, gems, raw materials, and semi-finished products. Conversely, imports from Thailand to Cambodia comprise fish, meat, vegetables, automobiles, organic fertilisers, foodstuffs, and construction materials.
Targeting $15 Billion Bilateral Trade Volume by 2025
Despite the current trade dynamics, both nations have set an ambitious target of achieving a bilateral trade volume of $15 billion by 2025. This goal aligns with their shared vision of deepening ties and expanding economic cooperation for the benefit of both nations. To reach this target, both countries have agreed to promote further investment cooperation, develop cross-border areas, and drive new economies based on innovative and cutting-edge technologies.
Enhanced Connectivity and Digital Economy
Another focal point of the discussion between the two leaders was the enhancement of connectivity by air, rail, and road. They also discussed the promotion of the digital economy, green economy, and online security. A key part of this strategy includes the development of Thailand-Cambodia border crossing points, rail transport, and border tourism. Additionally, the leaders agreed on the need to connect their supply chains further and promote business matching, especially among small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
Security and Human Resource Development
The two Prime Ministers also touched on security issues, with a proposal for Cambodia to host the next meeting of the Joint Boundary Committee to upgrade border crossing points and boost cross-border trade. Both leaders underscored the need to step up de-mining efforts along their shared border and exchange visits between officials of security agencies of the two countries to combat trans-border crime.
Moreover, both leaders emphasized the importance of human resource development and sustainable development. They agreed on the need to work closely together to tackle fake news, which could cause misunderstandings between the people of the two countries.
Implications for Regional Relations
This strengthening of ties between Cambodia and Thailand is indicative of a broader pattern of regional collaboration within Southeast Asia. It is part of a broader effort to foster leader-to-leader relations among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. The upgrade of the strategic partnership between Cambodia and Thailand may herald a new chapter in their relations, one defined by deepened economic integration and mutual support in key areas such as trade, security, and human resource development.
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