Turkey Eyeing Big Trade Boost

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Cambodia and Turkey have pledged to boost trade between the countries to half a billion dollars by 2020.

Products produced in Cambodia including beer, spices, nuts and corn. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Moves to enhance economic relation between the two countries after the start of direct flights are being discussed.

During a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and newly appointed Turkish ambassador Ayda Unlu at the ministry, both sides agreed to spur the economic relationship by pushing trade to $500 million by 2020 to take advantage of Cambodia’s economic growth.

“The bilateral cooperation between Turkey and Cambodia will be further strengthened and expanded in all areas,” Mr Pornmoniroth said.

“Cambodia has been rated as having the eighth-highest economic growth in the world over the past two decades.

“It is a new economic hub in Asia, which will drive Cambodia towards becoming a higher-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050,” he said.

Ms Unlu agreed that Cambodia had made remarkable progress and changes. She pledged to strive to strengthen and enhance the cooperation between the governments and people of the countries.

“Turkey is studying the possibility of opening direct flights to Cambodia to boost trade, tourism and investment between the two countries,” she said.

Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodian National Tourism Alliance, said that most Turkish tourists now visit us via Thailand.

“When we get direct flights, we won’t only see more tourists but we will also see more trade and investment flowing from them,” he said.

“At the same time, with direct flights we can also get connected to other routes in the world.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen said during a meeting with outgoing Turkish Ambassador Ilhan Kemal Tug at the government’s Peace Palace in January that he also encouraged more economic engagement since diplomatic ties have developed.

“Since the relationship between the two countries has been improving, both countries can do even better on economic cooperation, investment and trade exchanges,” he said.

He added that it was important to connect the countries by having direct flights.

Cambodia welcomed 3,095 Turkish tourists in the first three months of last year compare with 2,246 in the same period a year earlier — a jump of more than 37 per cent.

In 2016, 6,623 Turkish tourists came to Cambodia compared with 5,082 in 2015 — a rise of more than 14 per cent, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Trade between Cambodia and Turkey is still limited and was valued at about $30 million in 2016 and $75 million last year.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.