Cambodia and Morocco are planning a business forum geared towards expanding bilateral trade and investment cooperation, bridging investors of both countries, according to Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn.

The ambassador met his newly-appointed Moroccan counterpart Abderrahim Rahali earlier this month.

Sorphorn told The Post that Morocco is interested in pumping money into Cambodia, especially now given the favourable conditions for foreign investors offered by the ASEAN member’s new Law on Investment.

Although bilateral cooperation has historically been scant due to the considerable geographical distance between the two countries, Rahali says Moroccan businesspeople are keenly interested in Cambodia, owing to its effective Covid management and the respectable number of free trade agreements (FTA) under its belt, according to Sorphorn.

“Morocco wants to expand its market access to Cambodia, and upscale imports of Cambodian goods, and the ambassador [Rahali] has also inspired Moroccan players to invest.

“We plan to hold a business forum between the two countries to gauge what Cambodians can export to Morocco,” he said, noting that the North African country’s population is about 35-36 million.

Last year, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Morocco topped $4.4 million, ticking up by 4.42 per cent over 2020. Of that, Cambodian exports to Morocco rose by 4.31 per cent to more than $4.3 million, and imports inched up by 0.11 per cent to over $110,000, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Ministry spokesman Pen Sovicheat also noted that Morocco’s vast geographical distance from Cambodia – about 10,400km at the nearest point – makes transport difficult, keeping trade volumes low.

He noted that agricultural products make up a fair share of Cambodian exports to Morocco, and that the African country still buys small amounts of Cambodia’s textile-related goods – imported through France and other European countries.

Sovicheat hopes for better-developed trade relations between the two countries that would stimulate Moroccan purchases of agricultural products, garments, bicycles, spare parts and components, and other merchandise.

“We are also looking at what we can bring back from Morocco,” he said, adding that the proposed forum and similar initiatives would help the countries to better understand each other’s needs and expand mutual cooperation.

Sovicheat affirmed that the ministry welcomes and supports Moroccan investment and other approaches to further expand bilateral trade and investment cooperation.