April 2, 2011

VN goods sought-after in Cambodia

HCM CITY — Cambodia offers plenty of opportunities for Vietnamese exporters though there is fierce competition from countries like Thailand and China, a conference concludes. 

Viet Nam's exports to Cambodia were growing at more than 30 per cent annually, Vu Thinh Cuong, the country's Trade Counsellor in Cambodia, said at a conference titled Cambodia – opening market for Vietnamese businesses held earlier this week.

In the first two months of this year, they were up 44 per cent to US$306 million, with the main export items being plastics, garments, steel and seafood, he said. 

Nguyen Thi Hanh, general director of Saigon Co.op, said since Cambodia had to import large volumes of consumer goods, it offered a good opportunity for Vietnamese firms.

Vietnamese products were very suitable to Cambodian consumers in terms of price, design, and quality, she said. 

Cambodia, especially its capital Phnom Penh, offered rich prospects for Vietnamese retailers because modern trade channels had not developed there, she added.

The securities market and construction were also promising sectors for Vietnamese firms. 

The Cambodian stock exchange was scheduled to open in July, Hang Chuon Naron, Cambodia's Secretary of State for Economics and Finance, said. 

Lao Tip Seiha, director of the country's Construction Department, said with many factories, amusement centres and property developments granted licences, the construction sector was set to boom.

But Vietnamese goods could expect to face fierce competition from other countries, especially Thailand and China, Cuong said. 

Last year Thailand's exports to Cambodia almost doubled to $2.34 billion, much higher than Viet Nam's, he said.

China's exports were worth more than $1 billion last year, he added. 

Many delegates said though bilateral trade had increased strongly in recent years, it remained low compared to the potential.

Vietnamese firms had yet to tap the potential of the market, they said. 

Businesses blamed the situation on the shortage of commercial centres, warehouses and showrooms in border areas.

To encourage Vietnamese firms to do business in Cambodia, Cuong said the Government should develop a financial mechanism to spur them to invest in rubber plantations, mining and hydro-power in border provinces. 

He also said the Governments should invest in upgrading the trade infrastructure, building wholesale markets and setting up banks in border areas to facilitate trade.
Vietnamese firms should invest in building trade centres in Cambodia to distribute Vietnamese goods, he added. 

By last year, Vietnamese firms had invested $566 million in 41 projects in Cambodia, mainly in rubber farming, aviation, telecom, garments, tourism, construction materials and mining.

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