Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen, Japan PM discuss potential FTA, conglomerate investment, agriculture exports

Hun Sen, Japan PM discuss potential FTA, conglomerate investment, agriculture exports

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen (right) and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida at a meeting on Sunday. SPM

Hun Sen, Japan PM discuss potential FTA, conglomerate investment, agriculture exports

Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida to consider calling for a study on the potential establishment of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), convince importers to buy more Cambodian “priority” agricultural products, and encourage prominent Japanese companies to invest in the Kingdom.

The Cambodian prime minister made the requests during Kishida’s two-day official visit to the Kingdom from March 20-21.

This was the latest in Hun Sen’s efforts to further expand bilateral trade and advance economic cooperation with Japan, as well as to secure greater Japanese investment in the Kingdom.

The two sides agreed to elevate their bilateral strategic partnership to new heights, as Hun Sen underscored that next year would mark the 10th anniversary of the partnership – established on December 15, 2013 – as well as the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries – inaugurated on January 9, 1953.

According to the premier, the two parties agreed to combine efforts and turn the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port into a major international trade hub, as well as to press on with action against Covid-19 aimed for a speedy economic recovery.

Both sides voiced delight that new Japanese investment in Cambodia rebounded last year and that bilateral trade remained stable just below the $2 billion mark, following considerable declines in 2020, even amid the challenges and uncertainty posed by the Covid-19 crisis.

Preliminary commerce ministry statistics indicate that bilateral trade topped $1.700 billion in 2021, inching up by 0.49 per cent from more than $1.692 billion in 2020. Cambodian exports to Japan stood at $1.094 billion, up by 3.61 per cent over 2020, whereas imports were $607 million, down by 4.68 per cent year-on-year.

Hun Sen disclosed that he was looking to sell specific major Japanese multinational conglomerates on setting up factories in the Kingdom, listing Panasonic Corp, Toshiba Corp, Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Yamaha Corp as prime examples.

The Japanese prime minister praised Cambodia for promulgating the new Law on Investment in October, which he said would foster business expansions.

To fully capitalise on the new law and spur Japanese investment, the two premiers agreed to work on further improving the investment climate in Cambodia, through bilateral investment agreements and public-private sector meetings.

The two sides also discussed ways to strengthen and expand bilateral cooperation in fields such as manufacturing, energy, tourism and other economic sectors, as well as security, communications networks, and intellectual exchanges.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath views Hun Sen’s requests collectively as a “strong effort” by the current administration for the benefit of the people, made not as “a farmer or a worker, but a citizen”.

“Encouraging Japan to help buy agricultural products and motivating Japanese companies to invest in Cambodia are ambitions of the Royal Government meant to help both farmers and workers,” he told The Post on March 21.

“Factories create more jobs for workers, and aside from those making garments, [new] plants will be more inclined to be in medium-industry.”

Sereyvath argued that the entry of more businesses from more countries into Cambodia would be a boon for workers’ rights and wages, and create a highly competitive arena for investors.


  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • PM declares ASEAN Para Games open

    The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents. Tens of thousands of sports fans

  • Honda shutters Siem Reap football club

    Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season. Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said

  • Waterway job still pending for Kampot tourism port’s opening

    The search is still on for a contractor to expand and deepen the Kampot International Tourism Port’s waterway and deliver additional enhancements allowing safe access for larger vessels, nearly a year after the main construction work on the 4.25ha site was completed on June 30, 2022.