Cambodia and Turkey Aim to Hit $1b in Bilateral Trade

Cambodian and Turkish officials have met to discuss creating a trade preference agreement to hit $1 billion in bilateral trade
Senior officials from both countries attend the meeting, discussing and exchanging views priority sectors and sub-sectors. Kiripost via Ministry of Commerce
Senior officials from both countries attend the meeting, discussing and exchanging views priority sectors and sub-sectors. Kiripost via Ministry of Commerce

Cambodia and Turkey officials have discussed possibilities of creating a trade preference agreement between the two countries and looked at ways of connecting direct flights, aiming at reaching $1 billion bilateral trade.

Tekreth Kamrang, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce, co-chaired a bilateral technical meeting with Mehtap ATAKAN ÖZKAN, Deputy Director General of the Turkish Ministry of Commerce, on Tuesday, to further review and discuss the draft joint minutes in preparation for the Plenary Meeting of the Third Meeting of the Cambodia-Turkey Joint Economic Commission, that will take place on Wednesday in Phnom Penh.

A statement from the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce said around 70 senior officials from both countries attended the meeting, discussing and exchanging views priority sectors and sub-sectors, including trade, investment, business, industry, science, technology and innovation, halal, small- and medium-enterprises, agriculture, transportation, civil aviation, health, education and tourism.

The statement added that to promote and maximize the benefits of the Cambodia-Turkey bilateral cooperation, officials have looked at the possibilities of establishing the preferential trade agreement and connecting direct flights between the two countries in the future to achieve the goal of increasing trade volume between the two countries to reach $1 billion.

For the first 11 months of 2022, bilateral trade reached about $136.15 million, an increase of 63.6 percent compared to the same period in 2021, the ministry said.

Potential exports from Cambodia to Turkey include garments, textiles, shoes, umbrellas, travel accessories and more. Potential imports from Turkey to Cambodia include machinery, cotton, pharmaceutical products, glass, steel and plastic products, the ministry added.

Hong Vannak, economic researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia said on Wednesday that the bilateral trade agreement between Cambodia and Turkey will help elevate the economic growth between the two countries.

Furthermore, Vannak believes that strengthening good relations between Turkey and Cambodia will raise the chance of reclaiming the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative, which was partially removed by the EU over the political and human rights situation in 2020.

Turkey is a candidate to become a member state of the EU and is considered to have high economic growth among the EU region, Vannak said, adding that relationships between Cambodia and Turkey fluctuate up and down last year.

“Therefore, Turkey will help contribute to be a voice in coordination or facilitating general affairs with Cambodia and the EU,” he said.

However, he noticed that the economic volume between Cambodia and Turkey remains small when compared to other countries in Europe and other cooperating countries, such as China, America, Japan and South Korea.