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Cambodia-Thailand trade continues contraction

Chea Vanyuth / Khmer Times Fri, February 26, 2021

Poipet International border with Thailand. Thailand’s cross-border trade with Cambodia dropped 22 percent over the first 11 months of 2020 compared with the figures for the same period in 2019. Khmer Times

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand has started early 2021 on a downward note with contraction continuing as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains very much in evidence.

Two-way trade was valued at $653 million in January 2021, a year-on-year decrease of 10.6 percent, data from Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce shows.

Cambodia exports to Thailand in January totalled $113 million, a slide down of 4.8 percent year-on-year, according to the report.

Meanwhile Cambodia imported $540 million of goods from Thailand, a decline of 11.7 percent compared with January of 2020.

Last year, two-way trade was valued at $7.236 billion last year, a decrease of 23 percent from 2019.

These declines follow years of steady growth in the countries’ bilateral trade.

Lim Heng, vice-president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said the trade decline can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He laid out high hopes for an increase in trade activities between Cambodia and its partners as the availability of virus vaccines widens.

“Now that the availability of COVID-19 vaccines is under way, there will be movement towards the recovery of trade activities in 2021,” Heng said.

On Feb 24, Prime Minister Hun Sen called to remove the ban on the transport of cross-border goods  by Cambodian traders and people in neighbouring countries. The move is aimed to keep business and trade activities stable in the light of strict COVID-19 pandemic control measures.

“So far, we have strengthened quarantines and the control of the entry and exit of people and set clear goals to strengthen the quarantine at all border areas to avoid the influx of disease from abroad into the country. But the transportation of goods and our business with neighbouring countries continues to be normal,” Mr Hun Sen said.

In 2015, the two governments of Cambodia and Thailand agreed to triple trade bilateral trade from the $5 billion recorded that year to $15 billion by 2020.

SOURCE: Khmer Times, Cambodia Fri, February 26, 2021

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