Cambodia proposes exclusive Special Economic Zone for Korean Firms to boost investment

Cambodia proposes exclusive Special Economic Zone for Korean Firms to boost investment

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet raised two initiatives to promote trade and investment of Korean investors in Cambodia.

The premier spoke at the opening ceremony of the Cambodia-Republic of Korea Business Forum on 16 May 2024 in Seoul, South Korea.​

PM Hun Manet highlighted that Cambodia seamlessly connects investors to a vast market through a network of regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), including the ASEAN free trade area, ASEAN plus one FTA, RCEP, Cambodia-China FTA, Cambodia-Korea FTA, and Cambodia-UAE FTA.​

The Royal Government has established a proactive mechanism to ensure a supportive and responsive environment for the success of existing and new businesses. In addition, the country achieved remarkable economic growth over the past two decades, with an average gross annual growth rate of over 7% before COVID-19, and the economy has demonstrated remarkable resilience, with a swift recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.​

Premier Hun Manet pointed out that he met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on 16 May 2024. In that meeting, promotional trade between the two countries was at the top of their priorities, and the private sector played a key role. In this case, PM Hun Manet raised two initiatives for President Yoon.

The first initiative is to the creation of a consultative mechanism by which Korean businesses can engage with the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) twice a year. This has been done to allow the opportunity for Korean businesses to have a chance to meet directly with government bodies responsible for investments twice a year.​

The premier continued, “Cambodia has done this with Japan and offered that too business community in the US and Europe. Now, Cambodia is offering to the business community and Korean investment in Cambodia, to ensure that your concerned issues can be listened to and have together found a solution promptly because Cambodia cares about existing business in the kingdom,”

“Our model protects the existing one while attracting new ones. If we cannot protect businesses already in Cambodia and make the environment for them to grow, we don’t expect to attract new investment. This is a fact. So this has been a priority for the government,” the premier underscored.​

The second initiative is to create an exclusive special economic zone for Korean firms. This aim is to create an environment where Korean businesses can create an ecosystem or a supply chain model, and the government of Cambodia can partner in providing a custom-made solution in a timely manner to the Korean business communities. In this sense, PM Hun Manet hoped that a task force between Korea and Cambodia could be created soon.​

He added, “Through these two initiatives, we hope to find a more creative, more responsive way to deal with the concerns of existing businesses while providing opportunities and models to cater toward the needs of businesses from Korea shortly. This is our incentive and our innovative approach of trying to improve the attractiveness and also the suitability to your need in Cambodia for Korean businesses, and we hope that you take the opportunity to explore this new initiative.”​

The premier hoped that, with these initiatives, more businesses and the private sector from Korea would find Cambodia a good partner for their gross journey.​

The Republic of Korea is one of Cambodia’s largest trade and investment partners. With a total bilateral trade volume of approximately $751 million, it ranked 11th in 2023. In addition, FDI from Korea last year stood at $30 million, with a total volume of $5 billion, ranking ninth in 2023.​

Cambodia and Korea signed the Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) in December 2022. The CKFTA agreement will make it easier for Korean investors to invest and export-import between the two countries with many domestic opportunities, along with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s preferential investment policies. khmertimeskh

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