The Ministry of Commerce announced that the Beijing-based Cambodian Trade Liaison Office (CTLO) will relocate near the Cambodian embassy in the Chinese capital, in a move aimed at enhancing work efficiency and bolster economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two nations.

Ministry spokesperson Penn Sovicheat said on January 17 that the new premises were provided free of charge by Shenzhen Guoke Co Ltd, a hydrogen energy technology company, and Universal Capital Co Ltd. 

He said the gesture significantly reduces costs and time, thereby benefiting ministry officials working there.

“In the past, we’ve facilitated the private sector in establishing more Cambodian business centres in China, Japan and other countries. These centres are responsible for providing information related to the business sector and the sale of its products. 

However, the CTLO differs from these commercial centres. It is exclusively designed for officials to manage trade and investment relations with public and private partners only,” he explained.

“The office contributes to the Cambodian government by strengthening and expanding economic, trade and investment cooperation between [the two nations]. It’s particularly effective in broadening the market for Cambodian products in the Chinese market,” he added.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), emphasised the importance of establishing such commercial offices, not only in Beijing. 

He explained that the initiative is similar to setting up a representative office of the CCC in any city or country. 

He said the difference lies in the mechanism: one operates on a business-to-business (B2B) basis, while the other functions under government to government (G2G) or government to business (G2B) mechanisms.

“In the past, we’ve had commercial counsellors or trade attaches at our embassies in other countries. However, their effectiveness appears to be limited. Even with the opening of state commercial offices, we will observe their performance. We are hopeful that the CTLO in China will excel in promoting trade and business relations,” he said.

Heng added that in recent months, the ministry has collaborated with the private sector to open commercial centres in China, and the inauguration of more trade liaison offices is expected to enhance Chinese trade relations.

According to the ministry, Cambodia has established 19 offices, trade representatives or trade advisers in various countries to date. 

These entities play a crucial role in fostering trade relations and attracting investment in all sectors to the Kingdom.

Cambodia-China trade volume in 2023 exceeded $12.26 billion, a 4% increase from 2022. 

Cambodia’s exports to China reached $1.478 billion, rising nearly 20%, while imports from China amounted to more than $10.78 billion, showing a growth of over 3% year-on-year, as per the ministry.