The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) is looking to open representative offices in Canada’s Quebec province and the Thai capital of Bangkok this year after the July 23 general election, following encouraging results in the trade and investment domains credited to its current overseas outposts, according to the director-general of the Kingdom’s apex trade body.

The Toronto office, which opened in late May last year, has made a strong impression on investors and businesspeople based in Canada’s largest city, Nguon Meng Tech told The Post on May 31.

“Since we opened up in Toronto, we’ve been promoting high-potential sectors and providing rundowns of the investment climate and regulations in our country [Cambodia] to investors. We’ve seen some engagement.

“Now, we plan to open another one in Quebec over the next few months, we’ve been researching the viability of setting up there. At the same time, we also intend to open a representative office in Bangkok, having observed trade and investment flows between our two countries grow year after year,” he said.

Customs (GDCE) figures show that the value of merchandise traded between Cambodia and Thailand has grown annually since at least 2015, from $1.830 billion that year to $4.664 billion in 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.30 per cent for the period.

Although Meng Tech did not provide a more specific location for the planned office in the francophone Canadian province, CCC vice-president Lim Heng has suggested in previous interviews that the outpost may be established in the Greater Montreal area. The Cambodian government has yet to issue any sub-decree formally establishing either office.

In mid-May, Meng Tech met a Hong Kong business delegation that proposed the CCC open a representative office in the Chinese special administrative region (SAR) to serve as a trade and investment gateway connecting the city to regional markets and beyond.

However, the CCC director-general claimed that he had not yet received any “official letters” from the delegation.

This could be the next in the series of international CCC outposts opened since the first in Toronto, Canada in May 2022, followed by another in Sendai, Japan, and then two more in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia in that order.

Speaking to The Post, Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath hailed the CCC’s representative offices as valuable sources of information about government policies, investment regulations and potentially lucrative sectors for investors to use when deciding where to allocate their capital and resources.

Recognising the many potential advantages for Cambodia, he expressed support for the establishment of additional CCC offices abroad. “We can interact directly with companies and investors, and better understand their needs, challenges and business ambitions,” Sereyvath said.

According to the GDCE, the Cambodia-Canada merchandise trade last year was valued at $1.154 billion, rising by 16.06 per cent over 2021 and soaring by 95.03 per cent against 2015, while the Kingdom’s exports to the second largest economy of the Americas accounted for 97.07 per cent, edging up by 1.08 percentage points on-year.

In 2022, Cambodian goods exports to and imports from Canada amounted to $1.121 billion and $33.877 million, respectively up 17.36 per cent and down 15.07 per cent on-year, expanding the Kingdom’s trade surplus with the world’s ninth-largest economy by 18.77 per cent to $1.087 billion versus $914.940 million in 2021.

Canada was the fifth largest buyer of Cambodian merchandise in 2022, accounting for 4.98 per cent of the global total of $22.483 billion, compared to the top four: the US ($8.969 billion; 39.89%), Vietnam ($2.169 billion; 9.65%), mainland China ($1.241 billion; 5.52%) and Japan ($1.173 billion; 5.22%).

No breakdown was immediately available of the particular items traded between Cambodia and Canada at any point during the 2022-2023 period.

However, Trading Economics statistics show that, out of Cambodia’s $954.83 million worth of goods exports to Canada in 2021 (up from $750.67 million in 2020), “articles of apparel, knit or crocheted” accounted for the lion’s share at $593.05 million (versus $467.73M in 2020), followed by “articles of apparel, not knit or crocheted” ($141.91M; vs $144.36M), “footwear, gaiters and the like” ($86.71M; vs $60.33M), and “other made textile articles, sets, worn clothing” ($42.69M; vs $32.74M).

For reference, the four categories respectively correspond to chapters 61, 62, 64 and 63 of the Harmonised System (HS) of Tariff Nomenclature.

Similarly, out of Cambodia’s $39.89 million worth of goods imports from Canada in 2021 (down from $55.53 million in 2020), “vehicles other than railway, tramway” accounted for the most at $18.55 million (versus $24.07M in 2020), followed by “furskins and artificial fur, manufactures” ($14.88M; vs $6.06M), “machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers” ($2.07M; vs $694.32K), and “edible fruits, nuts, peel of citrus fruit, melons” ($725.34K; vs $154.86K).

These four categories respectively correspond to chapters 87, 43, 84 and 08 of the HS.

Trading Economics notes that its figures are sourced from the UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN COMTRADE).