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SKorean president's visit set to include trade agreement

SKorean president's visit set to include trade agreement

090915_08
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is scheduled to visit Phnom Penh for two days in October, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said Monday. BLOOMBERG

The [PACT] is very important ... to exchange trade information.

SOUTH Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak will make a two-day visit to Cambodia in October, a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said Monday, on official business that will include the signing of trade deals.

Spokesman Koy Kuong said the exact date was still to be confirmed.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce Director General Nguon Meng Tech said he had been told the visit would likely take place October 6-7.
He said the chamber would use the visit to sign a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean Chamber of Commerce on trade.

“The MoU is very important for both countries to exchange trade information and to help boost trade links between the two countries,” Nguon Meng Tech said.

Nguon Meng Tech said the trade relationship was one-sided, with Cambodia importing significant quantities of goods from South Korea but exporting little of its own goods in return. He said he did not have trade figures on hand Monday.

The deputy director general of the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), Lee Hyoung-seok, also said he could not access trade data Monday. The South Korean Embassy in Phnom Penh was not available for comment.

The most recent trade data seen by the Post, which was released by KOTRA early last month, shows bilateral trade dropped 22.6 percent year on year in the first five months of 2009 to US$114 million.

Figures released by the South Korea Embassy in March show that Korea exported $294.4 million worth of goods to Cambodia in 2008, including $117.5 in textiles, $54.8 million in car machinery and $43.2 million in textile goods.

South Korea imported just $14.3 million in goods from Cambodia, including $8.8 million in textile goods, $2.4 million in non-ferrous metals and $1.6 million in agricultural goods.

The figures also show that Korean firms transferred $472.89 million to Cambodia to invest in 2008, down from $629.49 million a year earlier.

Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) figures show Korean companies won approval to invest $1.24 billion in Cambodia in 2008. The CDC approved just $109.2 million worth of investments from South Korea firms in the first half of 2009.

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