The Ministry of Commerce is set to hold a five-day Cambodia-Vietnam “friendship market expo” at Da Market – also called the “Cambodian Border Model Market” – in southeastern Tbong Khmum province from June 1-5, in a bid to promote domestic wares and accelerate cross-border trade, which has remained buoyant even during the Covid-19 era.
The Da Market is located in Dar Kandal village, Dar commune, Memot district. Of note, “Da” and “Dar” are different transliterations of the same Khmer name.
The Tbong Khmum Provincial Administration and “private sector”, with the commerce ministry’s support, is slated to organise the trade fair in pursuit of greater recognition for local products and to promote business at the market, the ministry said in a May 11 public notice.
It asked anyone interested in attending the event to fill out an application before May 21.
Da Market was formally opened on December 24, 2019, functioning as a wholesale point near the shared frontier to facilitate cross-border trade between the two countries.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng welcomed the expo, affirming that CCC members will be invited to exhibit their products at the event, as well as to seek and establish trade and investment partnerships.
“Such exhibitions are not only displays of the produce or other goods that we produce, but also offer plenty of opportunities to our local businesses or investors to directly meet their Vietnamese counterparts, sharing information or even entering into business relationships and joint investment agreements,” he said.
Provisional Customs (GDCE) statistics show that the Cambodia-Vietnam merchandise trade volume reached $2.430 billion in the first four months of the year, marking an increase of 5.6 per cent from the $2.303 billion registered in the same period in 2022.
Cambodian exports to Vietnam passed $1.181 billion, up 20.89 per cent year-on-year from $977.270 million, while imports stood at $1.249 billion, down 5.76 per cent from $1.325 billion. The Kingdom’s trade deficit with Vietnam stood at $67.524 million, narrowing 80.60 per cent from $347.995 million in the year-ago period.
Meanwhile, the Cambodia-Vietnam merchandise trade clocked in at a record $6.136 billion in 2022, up 19.64 per cent from 2021 and up 453.96 per cent from 2015.
Last year, Cambodian exports to and imports from Vietnam amounted to $2.169 billion and $3.967 billion, respectively, up 9.25 per cent and up 26.20 per cent versus $1.985 billion and $3.144 billion in 2021, expanding the Kingdom’s trade deficit with its neighbour by 55.25 per cent on a yearly basis to $1.799 billion.
Statistical discrepancies and asymmetries in trade figures are common between different sources, however, with the foreign ministry putting the 2022 two-way trade volume at a whopping $10.57 billion – a whole 72 per cent higher than the GDCE value – which it recorded as an increase of 10.88 per cent from $9.5 billion in 2021. These numbers are corroborated by official Vietnamese statistics.
Nonetheless, no breakdown was immediately available of the specific items traded between Cambodia and Vietnam for any interval during the 2022-2023 period.
However, Trading Economics statistics indicate that “rubbers” and “mineral fuels, oils, distillation products” – or chapters 40 and 27 of the Harmonised System (HS) of Tariff Nomenclature – were Cambodia’s top categories of exports to and imports from Vietnam, respectively, in both 2020 and 2021.
Expressing some proportions by their possible ranges of values so as to account for rounding errors, “rubbers” and “mineral fuels, oils, distillation products” accounted for 56.93 per cent and 22.92-23.00 per cent of their corresponding 2021 totals – compared to 52.341-52.346 per cent and 21.44-21.53 per cent in 2020, figures from the website suggest.