The first France-Cambodia Business Forum, scheduled for June 9-10 in Phnom Penh, seeks to promote investment, increase cooperation and expand bilateral trade between the Kingdom and its former colonial power, according to organisers.
The event will be organised by the French Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFC) and the French Foreign Trade Advisors (CCE) Cambodia Section, with Francois Corbin, the French foreign ministry’s special representative for ASEAN economic relations, and representatives of more than 250 companies from ASEAN countries and France expected to attend.
At a June 1 press conference on the forum, CCE Cambodia Section chairman Arnaud Darc said the event would cast a spotlight on Cambodia’s favourable ecosystem for businesses, and establish that the Kingdom offers an easily-navigable, highly competitive and productive gateway for exports to Asian markets and beyond.
The forum will further strengthen French-Cambodian relations and exemplify France’s commitment to the Kingdom’s economic development, he said, adding that his organisation and the CCIFC will seek to ensure that the event is a success and a highlight of the year.
At the press conference, CCIFC president Soreasmey Ke Bin remarked that Cambodia was the first country in the region to reopen economically, as new daily Covid-19 cases dipped, enabling the forum to be organised.
The accompanying reduction in regulatory hassles of entering and exiting Cambodia has made it easier for French businesses to conduct operations in the Kingdom, presenting a valuable chance to arm investors from the European country with knowledge about the Kingdom and prepare them to seek investment opportunities in sectors considered to have significant potential, he said.
Ke Bin described the two main objectives of the forum as: to share prospective ideas with French entities and encourage investment in Cambodia; and to show the public that French businesses in Cambodia remain strong and will continue to prop up economic development in the Kingdom.
Philippe Baudry, the economic attache at the French embassy in Phnom Penh, expressed hope that the business forum would draw in more French businesspeople to Cambodia and hence stimulate trade between the two countries.
In addition to milled rice, garments and other textile-related goods, Baudry expressed hope for Cambodia to export larger volumes of unconventional yet commercially-viable products to France, such as natural cosmetics, and for the EU’s third-largest economy to bring new goods to the Kingdom.
Darc added that the CCIFC’s membership comprises 150 French companies, and that a CCE survey found that there are more than 500 French firms doing business in Cambodia.
According to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia, trade between Cambodia and France in the first four months of this year was valued at $176.720 million, up by 42.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.
In January-April, Cambodian exports to France reached $133.492 million, up by 37.4 per cent year-on-year, while imports stood at $43.228 million, rising by 59.3 per cent.