Cambodia is looking to drum up interest among Korean investors in the production of goods in the Kingdom for export to their home market, and push bilateral trade beyond current levels – $549.930 million in the first eight months of 2022, up by 6.42 over the same period last year, as reported by Customs.

To this effect, Ministry of Commerce permanent secretary of state Kem Sithan met with a delegation of the Korea Importers Association (KOIMA), led by its chairman Kim Byung-kwan who is also CEO of Bronte Family Co Ltd CEO, at his ministry on September 19 to discuss investment and business opportunities in Cambodia, the commerce ministry said in a statement.

Sithan told the KOIMA delegation that his ministry is currently making a number of reforms to provide better public services, such as the introduction of a self-certification scheme relating to the origin of goods as well as company and trademark registration systems that are more convenient, transparent and efficient.

“I hope that through this visit, [Kim] and the delegation will be more aware of Cambodia’s current potential,” the statement quoted him as saying.

He also encouraged the Korean delegation to promote and take advantage of the regional free trade deals and economic partnership agreements of which Cambodia is a member, to further boost import and export flows between the two countries.

Sithan highlighted the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) and the Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) as prime examples.

He emphasised the importance of the KOIMA delegation’s visit to Cambodia, calling on members to explore and seize the economic and trade opportunities offered by the Kingdom, especially those that tend to appeal the most to Korean investors.

Kim expressed delight over the visit, and pointed out that KOIMA was established in 1972 and currently has 8,300 companies in its ranks, operating in areas such as foods, spare parts, software, cosmetics, raw materials, textiles, agriculture and services, the statement recapped.

Speaking to The Post, Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, remarked that South Korea employs many Cambodian workers, adding that the two countries have long-standing trade relations, and that textiles and agricultural goods are among the Kingdom’s main exports to Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

According to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia, in the first eight months of 2022, the Kingdom’s exports to South Korea totalled $156.619 million, up 21.0 per cent year-on-year, and imports were $393.312 million, up 1.54 per cent. Cambodia’s trade deficit with South Korea for the January-August period narrowed 8.23 per cent to $236.693 million.

Regarding the trade deficit, Vanak called on Cambodia to make additional efforts to bring in more Korean investors to boost production for export to their home market.

“Korea is a big market and has a large population, so if Cambodia can produce goods with high import demand, it would help Cambodia expand its market presence there,” he said.