Cambodia’s apex trade body still plans to open a representative office in Montreal “soon”, with newly-found enthusiasm after its first overseas outpost, also in eastern Canada, was tied to a marked uptick in interest from businesspeople looking to invest in the Kingdom, according to a senior officer.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on September 14 that the Toronto representative office has generated tailwinds for economic growth and investment in the Kingdom, as a central meeting and information hub for interested players of all nationalities to gain insight into the investment potential of the emerging Southeast Asian economy.

Since the CCC opened its Toronto office in late May, “we’ve seen a bunch of foreign investors interested in doing business in Cambodia”, he said, adding that the office also provides a direct channel for importers to order Cambodian-made goods.

Heng revealed that many Canadian-based businesspeople plan to accompany Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November to the ASEAN Summit – to be hosted by Cambodia – and take the opportunity to explore investment options in the Kingdom.

He did not provide a more concrete time frame for the planned Montreal office, but did confirm that the CCC is also considering an outpost in South Korea once the long-awaited Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) enters into force.

Signed on October 26, 2021, the CKFTA was expected to enter into force within the first half of 2022, however, Seoul has taken longer to complete its internal procedures than Cambodian commerce officials expected, which has in part been blamed on the presidential elections and subsequent change in administration.

And without going into further details, Heng shared that an unnamed Chinese-based business association had reached out to the CCC on opening a representative office in China to encourage fuller and more efficient utilisation of the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) and bring in more Chinese investors to the Kingdom.

Hong Vanak, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, commented that the CCC’s overseas representative office offers direct access to up-to-date news on the Kingdom, which he said instils greater confidence among potential investors.

“The CCC opening more representative offices will bring up the number of people with at least a basic understanding of Cambodia, which will in turn boost the presence of Cambodian products on international markets,” he added.