South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry, and Energy Ahn Duk-geun has highlighted South Korean businesses’ strong desire to invest in Cambodia and called for the further expansion of mutual trade and investment between the two countries. 

“Korean companies have expressed keen interest in investing in Cambodia. More than 300 Korean companies are already engaged in manufacturing, construction and finance, and more investments are expected in the future,” he said.

Ahn shared his insights during the May 16 Cambodia-Korea Business Forum, held in Seoul, South Korea. In attendance was Prime Minister Hun Manet, who is currently on a May 15-18 official visit to Korea.

During the forum, the minister proposed a future direction for economic cooperation between the two countries, saying that “First, mutual trade and investment should be expanded further”. 

“Second, we must make progress in industrial and technical cooperation. Both countries are promoting technological cooperation, centered around textiles and food processing. This is directly improving the living standard of the Cambodian people,” he added. 

Ahn expressed his hopes that Cambodia-Korean cooperation will expand to cutting-edge fields such as automobile and heavy machinery manufacturing. 

“I hope that Korea and Cambodia will pursue mutual prosperity and growth together, as a close-knit family living in harmony,” he said. 

He noted that Cambodia has secured competitive advantages in the global market beyond ASEAN, by actively participating in the global value chain and taking the initiative in regional trade agreements at the same time. 

“Cambodia is Korea’s third FT [free trade] partner in ASEAN, and our agreement was born out of the common interests of the member states in the region, including Korea and Cambodia,” explained Ahn.

The minister also highlighted how cooperation on global greenhouse gas reduction is of the utmost importance, given the two countries’ goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. 

During a meeting with Manet on May 17, Park Sungjin, who represents SM Entertainment, said his company was looking for opportunities to expand its investment and business operations in Cambodia, according to a social media post by the prime minister.

Manet encouraged the company to work with the Cambodian embassy in Korea to liaise with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, as well as the Ministry of Tourism, to study potential investment opportunities in the Kingdom.

The post added that multinational digital financial services firm Dunamu’s chief strategy officer Lim Jihoon also met with Manet on May 17. He confirmed his company’s interest in further expanding its investment in Cambodia’s financial sector.