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‘Ready’ to reel in SK investors

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Cambodian ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche says he is working to convince Korean investors to set up electronic components factories in the Kingdom. FACEBOOK

‘Ready’ to reel in SK investors

Cambodia expects to capture more South Korean investment in electronic components for export as the ongoing trade row between the world’s two largest economies shifts factory operators’ sights to the ASEAN bloc.

Cambodian ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche told The Post on Tuesday that he is working to convince Korean investors to set up electronic components plants in the Kingdom.

He noted the job creation, national economic growth boost and sharpened competitive edge that the additional investment would provide the Kingdom.

As Sino-US trade disputes intensify, he said many South Korean companies are opting to relocate their factories from China to ASEAN countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.

He added that Vietnam currently hosts a number of giant companies from Korea, such as LG and Samsung, all of which need components to assemble into finished products.

“What I am trying to do now is to draw in Koreans to invest in Cambodia and produce components for all the huge companies,” he said.

As more and more Korean investors show an interest in venturing into Cambodia, Dimanche said: “I plan to make a presentation on the opportunities and potential in Cambodia to Korean investors soon.”

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Hong Vanak on Tuesday said the Kingdom is currently transitioning into a skills-driven labour-intensive growth model and boasts many skilled labourers who used to work in the South Korean industrial sector.

He said the added Korean-owned electronic components factories would be a boon for the Kingdom, noting the sheer scale of Korean companies.

“They’ll not only create new job opportunities, but also inject revenue into the Cambodian economy through tax revenue,” Vanak said.

He said its ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with South Korea underpin the Kingdom’s investment prospects.

Cambodian-Korean bilateral FTA talks began late last month, marking a stepping stone for the Kingdom to diversify its product exports, following the completion of similar talks with China.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Long Kemvichet told The Post in December that South Korea was among the Kingdom’s best trading partners, with trade volume increasing year-on-year.

“While bilateral trade between the two countries is not as large as in the US or European markets, South Korea is one of Cambodia’s largest trading partners in Asia,” he said.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and South Korea reached over $1 billion last year, up more than 36 per cent from $756 million in 2018, the ministry reported. The Kingdom exported $335 million in goods and imported $696 million.

The Kingdom mainly exported clothing and footwear and imported vehicles, electronics, machinery and spare parts, it added.

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