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Business bodies to up Cambodia-Thai trade, investment

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Cambodia Business Council in Thailand (CBC) president Sothea Sambath (left) and his Thai Business Council in Cambodia (TBCC) counterpart Jiranun Wongmongkol at the signing ceremony on Monday. TBCC

Business bodies to up Cambodia-Thai trade, investment

Cambodia Business Council in Thailand (CBC) and Thai Business Council in Cambodia (TBCC) entered into an official partnership to promote trade and investment between the two neighbouring Southeast Asian nations.

This comes just over three months since Cambodia on May 20 launched the CBC in Bangkok to serve as a one-stop centre for business trade and investment, as well as cultural and tourism exchanges between the two countries.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was penned to this end on September 6 between CBC president Sothea Sambath and his counterpart at the Phnom Penh-based TBCC, Jiranun Wongmongkol.

Sambath said the CBC’s core mission is to catalyse collaborative alliances and partnerships within the Thailand-Cambodia business community and undergird economic, commercial and investment relations between the two countries.

“To achieve this, we provide a comprehensive platform, draw members’ interests to key decision-makers and organise a wide range of conferences, workshops and networking events among the Thailand-Cambodia business community,” he said.

He underscored that creating a strong collaborative network that links relevant organisations and corporations is a decisive factor in fulfilling CBC’s mission.

In the same vein, TBCC’s core goal is to provide information and guidance to Thai investors interested in entering the Cambodian market, he said, acclaiming the trade body as a befitting strategic partner to strengthen bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand.

“The purpose of this collaboration MoU between the Cambodia-focused business councils is to provide and exchange all relevant information in connection with the business and trade development of the signatories’ members,” Sambath said.

He added that the institutions can exchange cooperative opportunities, develop processes and strategies to expand their business networks, and support marketing channels and tactics to generate business and investment prospects, cultural exchanges and social connectivity.

TBCC’s Jiranun stressed that her trade body has enjoyed a long-standing friendship with Cambodian business communities since its establishment in 1999, and has done its part to shore up trade and investment, and fortify bonds between the two countries.

“This MoU is another important step for the TBCC, which gives us an opportunity to work together and cooperate with Cambodian business organisation based in Thailand and exchange information and activities that will help both parties to efficiently achieve objectives,” she said.

Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn extended congratulatory wishes on the occasion, hoping the business councils’ pursuits would spur trade and attract more investments, in line with Cambodia’s Economic Diplomacy Strategy (EDS) 2021-2023.

He shared that his embassy “always supports private sector development, which the Royal Government regards as the engine of economic growth”.

“Personally, I see the MoU signing ceremony between CBC and TBCC today as a new milestone that will help further enhance Cambodia-Thailand bilateral trade and investment,” he said.

“Businesspersons and investors from both countries will no longer face difficulties with the Bangkok-based CBC and Phnom Penh-based TBCC serving as a bridge to provide accurate information about business and investment opportunities, as well as to connect them with the right business partners of either country,” Sorphorn asserted.

Moreover, he said, this cooperation will chart a course for the two associations to strengthen collaboration in organising business matchings and trade fairs for the private sector to expand business operations, in a manner “perfectly aligned” with EDS objectives.

Trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand reached $7.236 billion in 2020, down by 23.17 per cent from 2019, due to Covid-related disruptions, according to the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

Statistics show that Cambodia exported $1.148 billion worth of goods to Thailand in 2020, down by 49.49 per cent from the previous year, and imported $6.089 billion, down by 14.80 per cent from 2019.

These numbers imply that the Cambodia’s trade deficit with Thailand widened 8.9 per cent over the year, from $4.54 billion to $4.94 billion.

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