A Chinese official with the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh has pledged to increase bilateral trade between Cambodia and China by encouraging Chinese investors to invest in all sectors in the Kingdom.

Economic and trade adviser Zhong Jie, who is attached to the embassy, said she would work closely with the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), during her meeting with Chea Vuthy, secretary-general of the CDC’s Cambodian Investment Board (CIB) on September 6.

“I would like to express my support for the CDC’s efforts, and I promise to encourage Chinese investors to work closely with them in order to invest more in various areas to [help Cambodia] achieve sustainable development,” she said.

In the meantime, Vuthy expressed hope that the investment cooperation would achieve “more good results”.

He recalled that in the past, the CDC and China’s Ministry of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of a mechanism to strengthen investment and economic cooperation.

Both parties are also expected to sign six more MoUs to enhance comprehensive investment cooperation that covers the promotion of investment in the digital sector, new types of industrialisation, green development and industrial development corridor building.

These efforts would see the setup of a platform to provide effective and efficient investment facilitation to investors, especially Chinese investors.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that although the current global economic situation is not good, Cambodia-China diplomatic and trade cooperation is progressing well, especially the export of goods from the Kingdom to China, which has increased steadily.

But, because Cambodia’s export value is still lower than its imports from China, Cambodia must strive to diversify its goods and increase its quality to meet market needs.

“Attracting Chinese investors to invest in Cambodia would bring a lot of benefit for the economy, because in addition to creating jobs and reducing imports, it would also help increase the presence of Cambodian goods in international markets, including China,” he said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who visited Cambodia on August 12 to 13, said strong Sino-Cambodian cooperation would be favourable for the Kingdom’s economic growth.

This is possible via bilateral dialogue coordination mechanisms and study visits in line with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework.

Between January and July 2023, bilateral trade volume rose 1.8 per cent year-on-year to around $7 billion, the General Department of Customs and Excise said.

Cambodia’s exports to China were to the tune of $814.7 million, rising 16.2 per cent from last year while imports from China inched up 0.1 per cent to $6 billion.

Based on the statistics, Cambodia’s trade balance presented a deficit of $5.4 billion, which moderated from $5.6 billion in the same period in 2022.

China is Cambodia’s largest international trading partner, accounting for 25.6 per cent of Cambodia’s international trade volume in the first seven months of 2023, amounting to $27 billion.