Cambodia and Vietnam have agreed to cooperate and expedite the completion of the Cambodia-Vietnam Economic Connectivity 2030 Master Plan this year to maintain the trade momentum.
During the 20th Meeting of the Cambodia-Vietnam Joint Commission on Economic, Cultural, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation (20th JC) on March 20 to 22 in Hanoi, both nations committed to fully execute the signed MOUs and agreements.
It included the Cambodia-Vietnam Transit Agreement and further facilitates products in transit under the provisions of bilateral, regional, and international agreements to which both sides are parties, in particular the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement.
Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the relationship between the two nations has grown strong and underlined that the frequent exchange of visits and communications reflected well the spirit of good neighborhood and trust.
Hong Vannak, an economic researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, welcomed the agreements, however, he said the nation must address the bilateral trade balance. Despite Cambodian items being imported into Vietnam, the number of Vietnamese products imported to Cambodia is increasing.
He said that the nation must carefully consider it because Vietnam has a wide range of products and its economy has been strong for a long time. Therefore, this master plan must be balanced, accurate, transparent, and facilitate trade and investment in order for economic cooperation between countries in accordance with the agreement.
“So, I want to certify that we need to be cautious about the trade balance; we must consider what we have for exporting to Vietnam and what Vietnam may import into Cambodia,” he said. “We must preserve transparency and balance, which is critical for Cambodia, even if we are in the FTA.”
He added that if Cambodia considers this point, he believes that the connectivity economic master plan will have plenty of benefits for Cambodia as the nation will have a specific market.
“So, it makes Cambodia consider the viability of the production chain in order to develop additional products for exporting to Vietnam which is a partner country,” he said. “If we do not have [master plan], we will just conduct the trade without a strategy.”
According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Vietnam is one of Cambodia's biggest trading partners in the region. Despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the two-way trade volume reached $10.57 billion in 2022, a 10,88 percent increase compared to 2021.