Prime Minister Hun Manet called on French financiers to explore the investment potential of Cambodia and make “strategic decisions” to leverage the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, at the France-Cambodia Business Forum on July 8 in Phnom Penh. 

“I invite all French investors to explore the vast investment potential and rich opportunities in Cambodia, and to make strategic decisions to take advantage of our close bilateral relationship.

“Cambodia is ready to welcome and provide full support and hospitality to investors and businesspeople,” he said at the forum.

Manet praised the “wise” decisions of all investors, particularly French financiers, who choose to invest directly in Cambodia by partnering with local investors.

He expressed optimism that, following the forum, Cambodia would attract more French business and financing, surpassing the records of previous years.

Regarding economic cooperation, the prime minister said that France remains one of the country’s largest trade and investment partners among European countries.

He noted that bilateral trade between the two nations has steadily increased, reaching approximately $515 million in 2023 and about $206 million in the first five months of 2024.

He said that many French companies, ranging from multinationals to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), have established bases in Cambodia, such as VINCI, TotalEnergies, Accor, BRED Bank and many other SME firms owned by French businessmen. 

He added that French investment contributes to job creation, skills transfer and infrastructure development, which form the basis for the country’s sustainable economic growth.

“In order to address the concerns of the private sector, particularly with regard to audits and tax reassessments, we have worked closely and consulted with the private sector to develop standard operating procedures to improve the efficiency, estimation and transparency of the tax administration.

“The Royal Government has also been promoting trade facilitation by reducing logistics and transportation costs, launching a single national window and completing customs formalities before goods arrive,” Manet said.

According to the prime minister, the government has also set up two high-level committees to strengthen its commitment to improving business and investment through continuous cooperation with the private sector.

First, the Trade Policy Advisory Board (TPAB) provides specialised guidance on the development and implementation of trade strategies to deepen the country’s integration into the regional and global economy, making the private sector a key economic player across the entire commercial spectrum.

Second, the Commission for Resolving Private Sector Issues monitors, evaluates and provides solutions to the challenges faced by the sector, further promoting a favourable business and investment environment.

France-Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFC) president Cyril Girot said during a press conference at the French embassy in Cambodia in late June that imports from France in 2023 saw a considerable increase of 31 per cent compared to 2022, mainly consisting of agri-food products, pharmaceuticals and metallurgical products. He noted that exports to France primarily include textiles, agri-food products and bicycles.