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Cambodia-Malaysia Trade Grows Nearly 20 Percent in First Quarter of 2014

By Dezan Shira & Associates
Posted: 16th June 2014 09:04
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Malaysia during the first quarter of 2014 was up by 17.6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013, a Malaysian official announced this week.

Two-way trade amounted to US$105.4 million in the first three months of this year, compared to a value of US$89.63 million during the same period last year. Trade between the two countries was valued at US$420 million in 2013, of which Malaysia’s exports to Cambodia constituted US$235 million and Cambodia’s exports to Malaysia constituted US$193.71 million. Cambodia’s exports to Malaysia have seen a 489 percent increase since 2010, when they were valued at US$32.87 million. 

“Malaysia has exported beverages and tobacco, transportation equipment, processed food, chemicals and chemical products and machinery, appliances and parts,” said Rasazlan Abdul Rashid, the Malaysian ambassador to Cambodia. “Cambodia has exported crude rubber, textile and clothing, cereal, chemicals and chemical products and palm oil.”

However, despite promising growth, there are still many hurdles restricting the growth of bilateral trade, including non-tariff barriers, stringent investment rules and regulations, poor infrastructure and a lack of skilled labor.
Nguon Meng Tech, director-general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said that Cambodia and Malaysia must both continue to strive for further economic cooperation as there is still plenty of room for further growth.
“Even with constant increase[s] year on year, this figure is still relatively small compared to other countries like Thailand, Vietnam and China,” he said.

Rasazlan Abdul Rashid, the Malaysian ambassador to Cambodia, revealed the trade figures at the opening ceremony of a trade exhibition yesterday. The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) has organized a three-day expo, which is running in Phnom Penh until June 12. More than 60 Malaysian companies are displaying a wide variety of products at the expo, including health products, tourism services, construction materials and electronic devices.

Raja Badrulnizam, a director at Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, praised the trade expo and suggested that both countries should also remove trade barriers, improve investment rules and regulations and set up more incentive policies in order to attract further investment.

Malaysia is the third largest investor in Cambodia with a total investment in a range of sectors, including the banking, tourism, information technology and finance sectors, of approximately US$2.62 billion to date.
Earlier in the year, Cambodia and Malaysia promised to enhance bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, tourism and education following a meeting in Phnom Penh between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. At the time, Muhyiddin pledged to encourage more Malaysian investors to invest in agriculture, infrastructure development, rubber plantations, and energy in Cambodia.

This article was first published on ASEAN Briefing.
Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam, in addition to alliances in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.
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