As Cambodia and Turkey aim to increase bilateral trade to $500 million by 2020, a visiting Turkish trade mission arrived in the Kingdom yesterday, seeking out local partners for trade in electrical goods – one of Turkey’s leading export sectors.
Attending the business matchmaking event organised by the Turkish Electro Technology Exporters Association, Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol said that as bilateral trade increases he hoped Turkish businesses would look to Cambodia to set up production hubs for the manufacturing of goods, like televisions, household appliances and electrical components.
“Obviously, we will first import products from them. If they find it financially feasible, they will invest to look at setting up manufacturing here,” Chanthol said.
According to Chanthol, trade between the two countries was $59 million in 2012 and has increased to $124.4 million in 2014. Turkey’s electronic sector accounted for nearly $13 billion in exports last year, with nearly 60 per cent being shipped outside of the European Union.
Turkish ambassador to Cambodia Ilhan Kemal Tug said that the two countries were drafting an investment protection agreement that would “set the basis for bilateral investments to explore more trade opportunities”.
Omer Ozcelik, a sales representative for Turkish generator manufacturer Teksan Jenerator, said Cambodia, and ASEAN in general, still had significant challenges to overcome in order to attract investors, but Turkish firms were would nonetheless have their eye on the Kingdom over the coming years.
“Businesses are increasing investment here but infrastructure is still lagging behind. As investment increases the problem will also increase,” Ozcelik said.
He said low labour costs and Cambodia’s geographical location make it a good hub to setup manufacturing units. But this will happen, he said, only after a few years of exploring the Cambodian market.
Cambodia’s growing economy and rising income levels will facilitate a foray into the home appliances business, said Fevzi Torcu, sales manager at Vestel, a home appliances and LED lighting manufacturer.
He added that while Cambodia has many well-established Japanese and Korean brands in the appliances sector, there was still space for Turkish companies to grow.
“It will be a challenge. But we are living with that challenge [from Japanese and Korean brands] all around the World,” Torcu said.