More than 400 Thai companies are considering investing and doing business in Cambodia when the situation of the Covid-19 crisis eases, according to Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn.
Sorphorn on May 7 virtually met with the Thai Subcontracting Promotion Association (Thai Subcon), a group of more than 400 firms he described as “innovative and industrial”.
During the meeting, Thai Subcon president Kiattisak Jirakajonvong said the association's members were very interested in the potential of Cambodia.
He requested the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok to co-organise business meetings and tours at members' factories and at Cambodia's special economic zones to provide opportunities for the private sectors of both countries to strengthen and expand bilateral cooperation.
Sorphorn welcomed the request and briefed Thai Subcon delegates on economic diplomacy policy, with emphasis on Thai Strategic Plan Plus One.
He noted that the Cambodian government has pulled out all the stops to support and improve Cambodia's business-investment environment and market diversification.
To advance towards this goal, he said, Cambodia has signed bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) with China and South Korea, and joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bloc.
The ambassador also brought up the Thai authorities' decision to allow the Cambodian Business Council (CBC) to be set up in Bangkok to facilitate bilateral trade and investment between Cambodia and Thailand.
He noted that the CBC would also promote tourism and culture, and is aimed at meeting the two countries' prime ministers' ambitions to increase trade volume to $15 billion after the Covid-19 crisis.
“We laid out plans – the Thai business council and the embassy have figured out a plan to promote commerce and modernise trade and investment between the two countries to the fullest extent and woo Thai businesspeople and investors to Cambodia,” Sorphorn said.
Trade between Cambodia and Thailand reached $7.236 billion last year, tumbling 23.17 per cent from 2019, primarily due to the economic disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Thai Ministry of Commerce.
Statistics show that Cambodia exported $1.148 billion in merchandise to Thailand in 2020, down 49.49 per cent year-on-year, and imported $6.089 billion, down 14.80 per cent from 2019.
According to Sorphorn, Thailand is among the nine largest investors in Cambodia, pumping $967.89 million in foreign direct investment into the country between 1994 and the end of the third quarter of 2017.