A cambodian diplomat in South Korea affirmed that the Kingdom still possesses significant potential to attract Korean investments. The assertion comes in light of the Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) and three other free trade accords, which enable exporters to benefit from duty-free rates.

Cambodian ambassador to South Korea Chring Botum Rangsay made the remarks at the 2nd Cambodia-Korea Business and Investment Forum on December 21 in the South Korean capital Seoul.

She said the forum’s objective was to bolster investment opportunities between the two countries, aiming to achieve this by facilitating the exchange of information, sharing positive experiences and discussing policies of the Cambodian government relating to investments. 

She said the forum also seeks to create an environment conducive to establishing new partnerships for investors from both nations.

Botum Rangsay emphasised that the solid relationship has resulted from mutual commitment. 

“In fact, the two sides have mechanisms to promote economic, trade and investment relations, such as the Joint Economic Committee meeting, the double tax agreement (DTA) and the [CKFTA],” she explained.

“Additionally, both countries are members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP] and the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement [AKFTA], which have been instrumental in fostering economic, trade and investment cooperation,” she added.

The ambassador highlighted the favourable conditions created by the country’s new investment law, sub-decrees and other legal standards, which offer increased opportunities for investors. 

She noted that the Cambodian and Korean government’s commitment to fortifying inter-business relations, in conjunction with Korean President Yoon Sok Yeol’s approach, marks a successful era for investment. 

“Moreover, by focusing on reducing trade barriers in ASEAN and [the bloc’s] dialogue partners, investment in Cambodia opens the door to wider markets. Cambodia has begun its transition from an economy that relies primarily on traditional agriculture to a modern economy based on smart agriculture, industries, services and acceleration towards a digital economy,” stated the ambassador.

“We are ready to welcome investors and we encourage Korean investors to see the potential directly,” she added.

Jeong Marn-ki, executive vice-chairman of the Korea International Trade Association, highlighted that Cambodia is a nation poised to sustain its impressive economic growth rate of approximately 7% over the past two decades. 

He said the potential stems from the country’s strategic geographical position, enabling it to establish vital connections with both regional and global markets.

“The economic landscape in Cambodia, particularly with the implementation of digitalisation and industrialisation policies, labour laws, investment regulations and other beneficial factors that offer protection and support for foreign investments, has significantly bolstered the association’s enthusiasm to invest in Cambodia,” he stated.

According to a report from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), Korea stood as the country’s second-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first quarter of 2023, which amounted to 22.4 trillion riel ($5.467 billion), equivalent to more than 10% of total FDI. 

It said the majority of Korea’s investments are in finance, real estate, manufacturing, agriculture, hydropower and construction.

In the first 11 months of 2023, trade volume between the two nations exceeded $683 million, registering a slight decline of nearly 4% compared to the same period in 2022, as per the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).