Sok Chan / Khmer Times ,

Because trade between Cambodia and Timor-Leste remains low, the governments of both nations have decided to work towards boosting bilateral economic and business activities, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The decision was made during a video meeting between Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia and Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste.

The Foreign Ministers agreed to explore the possibility of increasing bilateral trade through the implementation of the existing agreement on cooperation between the nations’ chambers of commerce, according to Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn.

He added that Cambodia is open to discussion on exporting milled rice to Timor-Leste. That request was made by Timor-Leste in 2020, citing the worldwide recognition of the high quality of Cambodian milled rice.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the trade volume between Cambodia and East Timor is about $300,000 per year.

In May 2020, newly-appointed Ambassador from Timor-Leste to Cambodia Ermenegildo Kupa Lopes committed to getting the plan on track during his talk with Prime Minister Hun Sen to push for Cambodian milled rice exports to the country in response to market demand.

Initial conversations about trading the commodity – along with other agricultural products including palm sugar – began in 2016. Timor-Leste had previously agreed to import 200,000 tonnes of milled rice from Cambodia.

The two Foreign Ministers also praised the progress and cooperation in many other important fields and encouraged the relevant authorities of the two nations to speed up negotiations on three memorandums of understanding that include tourism cooperation, general cooperation and trade and technical cooperation of the National Transportation Centre.