French foreign trade minister Olivier Becht is set to pay a visit to the Kingdom from January 24-25 to strengthen Cambodian-French economic cooperation.

The visit comes after a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on December 13, on the sidelines of the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in the Belgian capital of Brussels that marked the 45th anniversary of EU-ASEAN Dialogue Relations.

Becht will be accompanied by a business delegation led by MEDEF International and Business France, the French embassy said in a January 20 press release, adding that the minister is due to meet Hun Sen, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and Council for the Development of Cambodia secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea.

The release said Becht is also scheduled to meet with members of the “5,000-strong” French community in Cambodia, including representatives of the business community.

Becht is also slated to attend a groundbreaking for the reconstruction of a monument honouring the fallen Cambodian and French heroes of World War I, along with construction minister Chea Sophara and culture minister Phoeurng Sackona.

He is poised to visit the under-construction Bakheng Water Treatment Plant, which is being bankrolled by the French Development Agency (AFD), European Investment Bank and EU, as well as the French-financed West Mebon restoration project and Angkor park’s other temples, in Siem Reap.

“This visit is in line with France's increased commitment to ASEAN, as indicated in 2022 by the participation of President [Emmanuel] Macron at the G20 Summit in Bali and the APEC Summit in Bangkok,” the release said.

Southeast Asia is key to France's Indo-Pacific strategy, as potentially the world’s most economically dynamic region with a particularly sustained growth rate. ASEAN is the EU’s third largest trading partner outside Europe – after the US and China.