Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) president Kith Meng on Tuesday called for stronger business and investment relations between the Kingdom and South Korea.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the World Summit 2020 in Seoul, South Korea, after a meeting between the Korea International Trade Association (Kita) and Cambodian businesspeople and high ranking officials led by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Meng said the CCC and the Kita successfully organised the Cambodia-Korea Business Forum in Phnom Penh last year, which was led by the leaders of both countries.

He said on November 25, the two countries signed an agreement for a joint feasibility study on a potential free trade agreement (FTA) aiming to expand bilateral trade, investment and tourism.

“I would like to urge Kita to promote more Korean investment in Cambodia or to expand investment from neighbouring countries such as Vietnam,” said Meng.

He noted that there are currently more than 250 Korean firms actively involved in Cambodia, which provide thousands of jobs to Cambodians.

Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) market strategist and chief operating officer Ha Jong-weon told The Post on Tuesday that through good relations between the two leaders and two peoples, the two nations have a lot of room to grow their business and investment ties.

“I believe Cambodia and Korea have strong relations. Cambodia should take advantage of this and promote more foreign direct investment [FDI] from Korea given that there are a lot of Korean investors eyeing opportunities in foreign countries.

“An FTA will be a great tool to promote this initiative,” he said, adding that Korean investors have expressed the most interest in the Kingdom’s financial, agricultural and service sectors.

At the Cambodia-Korea Business Summit which was held in Phnom Penh in March, Hun Sen and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pledged to work together and boost trade and investment between the two countries.

Moon said the Kingdom is attracting greater amounts of FDI and will be one of the most important markets for infrastructure projects in Asia over the next 10 years.

Korean companies are increasingly expanding their investments and operations in the Kingdom, he said.

Speaking at the forum, Hun Sen assured Korean investors and businessmen that Cambodia possesses an exceptional investment and business climate with peace, security and political stability, and sound macroeconomic stability, accountability, efficiency and transparency.

Between 1996 and 2018, the South Korean government invested about $632 million in development cooperation in Cambodia, with around $300 million disbursed via grants, the Korea International Cooperation Agency said in a press release last year.

The country plans to provide an additional $200 million in concessional loans to the Kingdom from 2019 to 2023 to aid national development, it said.