A senior Cambodian official praised Chinese investment in the country’s infrastructure, citing its crucial role in enhancing the Kingdom’s competitiveness in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly in manufacturing, at a recent economic forum in Shenzhen, China.

Sok Siphana, senior minister in charge of special missions, led the Cambodian delegation to the Global Chinese Economic and Technology (GCET) Summit, themed “Great Reset: Powering Growth, Technology and Regional Prosperity”, held on November 6-7.

“The Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have significantly transformed Cambodia’s trade environment. The change has created new opportunities for market access for [our] agricultural goods and commodities,” a press release from Siphana’s cabinet stated.

In a session focused on geostrategic and geo-economic challenges in a new multipolar world, he emphasised the evolving global order and the necessity to reinvigorate multilateralism to address 21st-century challenges effectively.

He pointed out that as BRICS – the bloc of countries representing Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – emerges as a strategic economic force, it has become increasingly difficult to diversify trade away from China. He advocated multilateralism as a solution for managing future global risks.

Siphana highlighted the longstanding evolution of China’s relationship with ASEAN, notably since 2003 when they upgraded to a strategic partnership. The enhancement has deepened economic integration, promoting connectivity and infrastructure development, particularly through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC).

The symposium sought to boost economic and trade opportunities within RCEP member countries. Discussions centred on the potential of BRICS nations as important economic players in a multipolar world and China’s role in this global power shift, according to the press release.

Emphasis was also placed on green energy’s contribution in driving technological advancements and sustainability, including smart city development and eco-friendly transportation.

The summit explored the digital economy’s transformative effect on government and business operations and its influence on emerging markets. It also examined the contributions of the global Chinese diaspora in entrepreneurship and the success factors within their dynamic community, as per the press release.

On the sidelines of the summit, Siphana held bilateral meetings with representatives from the China-ASEAN Business Association (CABA), Shui On Group, Gao Feng Advisory Company, China Development Institute (CDI) and China Daily Asia Pacific. The meetings focused on promoting trade and investment opportunities between Cambodia, China and Hong Kong.

Jointly organised by CDI and the KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific (KSI), the forum attracted over 400 participants, including key figures from Malaysia and China, entrepreneurs, academicians, technology expert, and representatives from international and regional organisations from countries like Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Australia and Canada. 

The event featured 50 distinguished speakers from China, ASEAN countries and other regions, as per the press release.