Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak on Tuesday called for Thai investors to tap the vast potential and business opportunities in the country to boost two-way trade to $15 billion in 2020.
Speaking at a seminar entitled 2020s Decade of Challenging Economic and Trade Growth between Thailand and Cambodia: In Depth Views from Experts’ Perspectives in Bangkok on Tuesday, Sorasak said Cambodia and Thailand have strengthened and maintained strong relations over the past 70 years.
To achieve the ambitious target of $15 billion in bilateral trade this year, both governments have implemented strategies to boost trade, cross-border development and investment.
Last year, Cambodia and Thailand reconnected railroad networks after more than 40 years of non-operation.
“I would like to encourage Thai investors in Cambodia to make use of business potential to the fullest extent.
“Also, I wish to encourage and welcome more potential Thai investors to Cambodia so that we can strengthen our trade relations to achieve the target of our prime ministers’ pledge of $15 billion bilateral trade in 2020,” he said.
Sorasak said trade between the two nations increased from $5.6 billion in 2015 to $9 billion last year.
Thailand has been one of the largest foreign direct investors in Cambodia for many years, he said.
Thai franchise businesses have seen promise in Cambodia, including cafes, restaurants and bakeries, as they respond to the high demands of Cambodian consumers, expatriates and foreign tourists, he said.
“The increase in Thai investment in Cambodia is the result of the Cambodian government’s proactive and pro-business policies.
“Cambodia is open for foreign investors to hold a 100 per cent stake in business and Cambodia offers a tax holiday of up to nine years as incentives for foreign investors who apply through the Council for the Development of Cambodia.
“Furthermore, we have no regulation to limit capital outflows. These are the huge benefits for foreign investors,” he said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post last week that exports to Thailand mostly comprised of agricultural products such as rice, corn, soybean, cassava, cashew nuts and mangoes.
Cambodia mainly imports machinery, electronic equipment, oil, construction materials, cosmetics and home appliances from its neighbour.
Thailand is among the top nine countries that expanded their investments in Cambodia between 1994 and the end of 2017’s third quarter, with an investment value of $967.89 million, Council for the Development of Cambodia data shows.
Thailand is to loan Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos some $281.6 million this year for the construction of four transnational roads under the Asean Connectivity Initiative, the Bangkok Post reported last month.