Japan has requested Cambodia to collaborate in the organising of a trade workshop in Tokyo to promote investment opportunities in Cambodia, which is planned in December.

The proposal was made by Koichi Zaiki, Asia Pacific CEO of Mizuho Bank in a meeting with Chea Vuthy, secretary-general of the Cambodian Investment Committee of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) on Sept 13.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank had collaborated with several parties in Japan to highlight the investment potentials in Cambodia to Japanese investors, Koichi said, adding that there is high interest to promote Cambodian products and attract more Japanese investors to Cambodia, hence his team’s plan for a workshop end of the year.

The workshop, co-organised with state-owned Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), would be participated by Japanese business associations and prominent Japanese companies.

“For this workshop to be successful, we seek CDC’s support and cooperation, especially secretary-general Vuthy’s [assistance],” Koichi said.

Acceding to the request, Vuthy expressed CDC’s willingness to partake in the event, noting that in 2017, CDC and Mizuho Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to increase Japanese investment in Cambodia.

“I would like to express my support and cooperation in organising this investment seminar to make it even more successful,” he said.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economic researcher Hong Vanak told The Post on Sept 14 that “relations between the government and both countries’ private sector have been good for a long time”, sharing that Japan has consistently provided political support and assistance to Cambodia.

Japan and Cambodia also enjoy good trade relations, with a high number of Japanese investors in Cambodia.

Vanak said Japanese investment is known to be “transparent and long-lasting”, so increased Japanese investment would not only raise Cambodia’s ability to export goods to international markets, but also strengthen economic growth.

“Every country in the world wants foreign investment, especially Japanese investment, mostly in medium and heavy industries, and for the adoption of modern technology and long-term sustainability,” he added.

Currently, Cambodia exports garments, shoes, components and agricultural products to Japan, and imports machinery, automobiles, electronics and machinery for agriculture.

As of the first quarter of 2023, the National Bank of Cambodia said Japan was the fourth largest investor in Cambodia with total investments up 11.6 per cent year-on-year at 11.3 trillion riel ($2.7 billion) after China, Korea and Singapore.

Most Japanese investments in Cambodia are in the financial sector, as well as construction, hotel and real estate.

Data from the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia showed that Japan is the fifth largest trading partner after China, the US, Vietnam and Thailand.

From January to August 2023, trade between Cambodia and Japan totalled $1.2 billion, down 9.8 per cent from the same period in 2022.

Of that, Cambodian exports to Japan amounted to $770.5 million, down 2.4 per cent, while Cambodia imported goods worth $420.8 million, down 20.7 per cent. Based on the figures, the Kingdom’s trade surplus expanded by $339.7 million.