The Cambodian embassy in Bangkok will soon establish a representative office for the “Cambodia Business Council” (CBC) in the Thai capital to serve as a one-stop shop for business and trade between Cambodia and Thailand, ambassador Ouk Sorphorn said on November 19.
The move is apparently motivated by recent pledges made by the prime ministers of both countries to increase bilateral trade to $15 billion per annum by this year.
Sorphorn told The Post that the CBC will develop an “Advocacy Pillar” based in the office that will be dedicated to promoting dialogue between Thai investors and their Cambodian counterparts in the government and private sector.
“The CBC is slated to be Thai and Cambodian investors’ first and only stop to get the technical support and guidance that they need in order to best prepare investment plans for the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand.
“We’ve deliberated the move with the relevant authorities back home and are now working at length on the project as we seek to promote diplomacy and the economy as pursuant to our government’s guidelines,” he said, adding that the new office will support the Thai Plus One investment policy.
Originally tailored towards Japanese firms, the Thai Plus One strategy is a business model in which international companies extend their supply chain networks developed in Thailand to neighbouring countries – such as Cambodia – to benefit from low-cost production sites while maintaining their primary regional production base in Thailand.
Sorphorn said the CBC will be central in bringing the growing roster of Cambodian businesses with a presence in Thailand closer to potential business partners in the country.
He added that the embassy has signed an agreement with Thai law firms to ensure that investors and businessmen from both sides are protected.
Heng Sovannarith, the commercial attache in Thailand, told The Post that the CBC office will also have a space reserved to display Cambodian homemade products.
“Our producers will be able to display their wares. At the same time, in the furtherance of our drive to promote more products and allow them to penetrate into the Thai market, the CBC will talk additional supermarkets in Thailand into featuring our goods,” he said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng welcomed the initiative and encouraged the Kingdom’s other embassies to follow suit.
“Our agricultural products export to Thailand typically run into hitches over export procedure during harvest seasons. For that reason, the establishment will be a big help in straightening out these sorts of kinks,” he said.
He told The Post earlier this month that the CCC is forging on with plans to open representative offices in Europe, Canada and the US next year.
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand was worth $5.569 billion in the first nine months of this year, down 19 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Thai Ministry of Commerce.
Cambodian exports to Thailand were to the tune of $958 million, slipping 48 per cent, while imports were worth $4.611 billion, down nine per cent.
Meanwhile, the total volume of trade between Cambodia and Thailand reached $9.41 billion last year, up 12 per cent from $8.38 billion in 2018.
The majority of Cambodia’s exports to Thailand comprise gemstones, jewellery, agricultural products and aluminium, the ministry said. Cambodia’s imports from Thailand mainly consist of fuel, motorcycles, cars, gemstones and jewellery.