June 2022 marks fifty years of bilateral relations between Cambodia and Bangladesh. Cambodia established friendly relations with Bangladesh on June 6, 1972. Bilateral relations were established in 1972 by the late King Sihanouk of Cambodia and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh. But full-fledged formal diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1993. Over the past three decades, relations between the two countries have deepened and the two countries have cooperated through bilateral and multilateral arrangements.
Bangladesh and Cambodia cooperate in various sectors. In 2014, the two countries signed an agreement to establish a joint commission to explore new areas of cooperation and strengthen existing cooperation in various sectors.
Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Cambodia was only $5.57 million in 2016, of which Bangladesh’s exports were $5 million and imports were $0.57 million. Cambodia’s exports to Bangladesh have seen a steady increase over the past five years, except in 2016.
Bangladesh and Cambodia cooperate in various fields. in 2010, the two countries agreed to create a joint commission for bilateral cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs. In 2013, they signed a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic passports. Bangladesh has expressed interest in hiring Cambodian human resource development teachers. In 2014, a joint commission was set up to explore new areas of cooperation between the two countries. An agreement was signed to strengthen the existing cooperation. In 2014, a cultural cooperation agreement was signed between Bangladesh and Cambodia. The 10 agreements signed in 2017 are expected to strengthen bilateral relations and strengthen economic cooperation between the two developing countries.
Bangladesh has offered a long-term land cultivation agreement for farms in Cambodia by Bangladeshi nationals. Bangladesh is keen to sign a long-term rice import agreement with Cambodia. Bangladesh Cambodian students received scholarships from Bangladesh Agricultural University. The two countries jointly carry out agricultural research. In 2014, Bangladesh and Cambodia signed an agreement for scientific and technological cooperation in the agricultural sector.
At the same time, Bangladesh-Cambodia started working to develop bilateral trade, increase investment and develop clothing. agricultural and tourist industries.
Cambodia and Bangladesh pledged to strengthen labor agreements between the two countries to manage labor migration, share information on labor recruitment and combat labor exploitation.
According to Cambodian media, the engagement was made between Labor Minister Ith Samheng and Mohammed Abdul Hye, the Bangladeshi Ambassador with residence in Thailand, on May 31.
Samheng said Cambodia and Bangladesh had a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that covers the labor and vocational training sector in place since 2017. A working group had worked closely together in the spirit of the MoU. agreement until their progress was halted two years ago by Covid. -19 pandemic.
“The labor markets of the two countries are similar. The two countries produce and export garments, so the two sides can share experiences and exchange information on the labor and vocational training sector,” Samheng said.
The Minister told the Ambassador that there are currently around 400 Bangladeshi nationals with work permits in Cambodia. They benefit from a health care program, as well as occupational risk coverage by the National Social Security Fund (CNSS), just like Cambodian nationals.
He said that although Cambodia’s working conditions are tied to its exports – a correlation that could play into the hands of investors – rising wages in the Kingdom, although a boon to workers’ livelihoods, presents a conundrum for employers.
Samheng praised Bangladesh for its technical training and advancements in agricultural techniques, another area in which he had requested Bangladesh’s assistance.
According to the ministry, the ambassador expressed his appreciation for Cambodia’s cooperation in labor and training, as the two countries renewed their memorandum of understanding.
He said that during his visit to Cambodia, he met Bangladeshi nationals who worked in many different fields, including services, construction, hospitality and banking. They had all received strong support from the Cambodian government, which had enabled them to open businesses.
Cambodia signed the Labor MoU with Bangladesh on December 4, 2017. The MoU is in effect for five years.
This time, the government is trying to secure a duty-free market facility for the export of these products. Cambodia is becoming increasingly important in increasing regional trade. Through various official initiatives, Bangladesh’s trade relations with this country will be further enhanced. The government plays an important role in increasing trade and investment by maintaining friendly relations between Bangladesh and Cambodia.
According to the Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh, during the last financial year, Bangladesh exported goods worth $5.39 million to Cambodia and imported goods worth $0.4 million. The government of Bangladesh plans to increase it further. Apart from this, the government is also planning to provide various facilities to attract investment to Cambodia.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Bangladesh in 2014 and sent congratulatory messages to Bangladesh in March 2021 to mark the centenary of the birth of its founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh. He met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2017. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina visited Cambodia in 2017. Such kind of visits have accelerated the ties between the two countries. 10 MoUs were signed during his visit to Cambodia in 2014 to strengthen economic and cultural ties. Bangladesh and Cambodia have signed 10 instruments, including nine Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), to boost trade and investment between the two countries. The instruments were signed with the aim of enhancing cooperation in various fields such as tourism, agriculture, civil aviation, ICT and technical education.
Even Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen hailed Bangladesh’s digital transformation under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and emphasized increasing trade and expanding the scope of business between the two countries. He hailed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak. He expressed his interest in increasing bilateral trade.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is keen to strengthen ties with the Southeast Asian state. Bangladesh and Cambodia should take effective measures to strengthen bilateral relations to connect Southeast Asia with South Asia. The two states should enhance their commercial interest to serve mutual benefit.