Cambodia has urged Japan to collaborate in initiatives aimed at enticing investors and broadly promoting Cambodia’s appealing investment environment and incentives to Japanese stakeholders.

This comes as trade figures between the two nations exceeded $1.3 billion in the first three quarters of 2023.

Sun Chanthol, deputy prime minister and first vice-president of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), made the request during the 26th meeting of the Cambodia-Japan Joint Committee on October 26.

In attendance were Japanese ambassador Atsushi Ueno, representatives from relevant ministries and institutions, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the Japan Business Association of Cambodia (JBAC) and delegates from around 200 Japanese firms investing in the Kingdom.

Chanthol expressed gratitude to Japanese investors for amplifying their business and investment ventures in the country.

“This demonstrates the trust foreign investors, especially those from Japan, have in Cambodia. They capitalise on the peace, macroeconomic stability and favourable investment climate, all of which bolster competitiveness,” he said.

Ueno praised the CDC and other Cambodian entities for their dedication to addressing the concerns of Japanese investors.

The bilateral discussion is a continuation of the Investment Maintenance Mechanism, initiated on August 11, within the context of the agreement between Cambodia and Japan focusing on the liberalisation and fortification of investments.

The agreement was signed by former Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on June 14, 2007. The recent 26th session revolved around topics including taxation, logistics, energy and trade.

Statistics from the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) show that the trade volume between the two countries in the initial nine months of 2023 stood at roughly $1.37 billion, a decrease of 8.3% from 2022.

Cambodia exported goods worth $885.74 million to Japan, a slight reduction of 1.3%. Japanese imports to Cambodia dropped significantly by 18.8% to $481.1 million.

The Kingdom’s trade surplus for the period stood at $404.64 million.

As of Q1 2023, Japan ranked as the fourth-largest investor in Cambodia, trailing China, South Korea and Singapore, with investments mainly in finance, construction and real estate, according to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).

Presently, Japan is Cambodia’s fifth-largest trading partner, following China, the US, Vietnam and Thailand.

For reference, the bilateral trade figure stood at $1.948 billion for 2022, marking a 12.3% growth from the previous year. Exports from Cambodia to Japan grew by 7.3% to reach $1.173 billion, while imports from Japan surged by 21% to reach $774.989 million, as per GDCE data.