Ssteel sheet is among Vietnam's main exports to Cambodia (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and Cambodia have recorded encouraging outcomes in bilateral trade since diplomatic ties were set up five decades ago, and they are on the way to turnover of five billion USD in the near future.

Vietnam is the third biggest trade partner and the fifth largest foreign investor in Cambodia.

In late October 2016, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak signed an agreement on trade promotion to raise bilateral trade to five billion USD.

Statistics show that trade soared from 184 million USD in 2001 to 3.05 billion USD in 2015. It hit 2.4 billion USD from January to October last year, including nearly 1.8 billion USD of Vietnam’s exports. 

Vietnam’s main exports to Cambodia include steel products, fertilisers, textile-garments, machinery, spare parts and plastics.

Shortly after signing the cooperation deal, the two sides provided tax incentives for each other’s commodities. In particular, 29 Vietnamese goods will benefit from zero-percent import tariffs when they are shipped to Cambodia, including milk and cream, cassava starch, meat and rice products, confectionary, paint, plastic products, paper, ceramics and steel products.

This is special treatment for Vietnam and better than Cambodia’s promised incentives for other ASEAN nations.

Meanwhile, Vietnam offered a zero-percent import tariff on 39 commodities from Cambodia, mostly agricultural products, plastic products, books and notebooks, fabric and bicycles. This incentive is believed to help Vietnamese businesses increase raw material supply for production.

Although Cambodia is a Southeast Asian trade partner that has won the interest of many Vietnamese investors, its legal system remains inconsistent between central and local levels. That fact has impacted Vietnam’s investment in Cambodia.

To step up trade relations, the two countries agreed to remove obstacles for businesses, effectively implement licensed projects and soon ink new cooperation agreements to raise trade to five billion USD.

Many experts said the two countries should issue support policies for enterprises which invest in or trade with Cambodia. Vietnam needs optimal mechanisms for import-export activities, customs procedures, tourism and labour cooperation.

According to Vietnamese and Cambodian leaders, the countries will enhance the implementation of the agreement on investment promotion and protection and soon sign an agreement on double taxation avoidance and a cross-border trade agreement which will replace the existing deal on goods and services buying, selling and exchange in border areas. They will also sign a labour cooperation agreement and a memorandum of understanding on transport cooperation strategy for 2017-2025.-VNA