Indonesia aims to achieve top-five status as Cambodia’s trade partner
Having surged to number six among the top trading partners of Cambodia, Indonesia has set its sights on breaking into the top five by the end of 2024. Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Cambodia Dr Santo Darmosumarto talking to Khmer Times recently made this revelation among other topics related to trade between the two ASEAN neighbours.
About the main challenges facing trade between Indonesia and Cambodia, Darmosumarto identified connectivity and logistics. He pointed out that the cost of transporting goods between the two nations pushes up the costs of products making them less competitive as Vietnam or Thailand for example.
With direct flights already underway between the two countries, Cambodians going to Indonesia for tourism and work purposes have easier access. “At the same time, there’s an opportunity for cargo space to be used for enhancing trade cooperation. While some products can be sent by ocean cargo, there are products that need to be sent immediately using air freight. In addition to transporting people directly, direct flights will also help us with transporting goods directly,” he said.
The ambassador said he sees a lot of room for cooperation in areas like agriculture as well as potential for the tourism sector. He said he likes to think that there is still a lot of space in the glass to fill it with whatever type of cooperation the people want.
Post-colonialism, the way they fought for their independence has fostered a strong sense of brotherhood among the people of the two countries. He expressed great optimism in the feat that Indonesia is projected to be the No. 6 trading partner compared to last year when Indonesia ranked seventh.
Bilateral trade is expected to break the $1 billion barrier, which he considers to be quite an achievement.
“Our number one product in terms of exports to Cambodia is coal but we also recognize that there are other types of products that are potentially good for Indonesia, for example, car parts and even cars.”
He went on to add: “There are various products that Indonesia is ready to export to Cambodia. The market is still very open for Indonesian food products. I think we are seeing more and more brands coming in and rivalling products coming from Vietnam, Thailand and China. Cambodian consumers will enjoy a wide variety of brands when it comes to food. But beyond food and agriculture, there are other areas of cooperation to be explored, for instance, the manufacturing and energy sectors,” he said.