Officials, entrepreneurs confident in expanding China-Cambodia cooperation in agriculture, industry, tourism
Published: Feb 11, 2023 12:27 AM
Tourists visit the Angkor Wat in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, Dec. 17, 2022. (Photo by Van Pov/Xinhua)

Tourists visit the Angkor Wat in the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, December 17, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Officials and entrepreneurs from China and Cambodia expressed confidence in a continuous expansion of bilateral cooperation in various fields, especially in agriculture, industry and tourism, at a forum on Friday evening for China-Cambodia economic and trade investment and tourism held at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the Friday forum that there are six pillars for bilateral cooperation: politics, industrial capacity and quality, agriculture, energy, security and people-to-people exchange.

With the adjustment of epidemic prevention and control policies, Cambodia will be able to welcome more Chinese tourists, said the prime minister, adding that in 2022, the number of Chinese tourists in Cambodia increased by 133.5 percent year-on-year.

Hun Sen said that Cambodia will strive to build its southwestern province of Preah Sihanouk into a multifunctional industrial zone and develop its four northwestern provinces, where there are abundant rice and fishery resources. He said that Chinese investments have covered the region's four provinces and Cambodia will make the region a priority for its economic development.

"We also warmly welcome investment from Chinese entrepreneurs," said Hun Sen.

Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua also said at the forum that China welcomes enterprises to further explore the Chinese market through platforms such as the China International Import Expo, Canton Fair and China-ASEAN Expo.

The two sides will create more opportunities for enterprises and investors, Hu noted, adding that 2023 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia and has also been designated the Year of Cambodia-China Friendship.

According to Hu, the two sides have carried out extensive cooperation in textiles, clothing, processing and manufacturing, agriculture and other fields. The Sihanoukville Port Special Economic Zone jointly built by China and Cambodia has attracted 175 global enterprises, providing about 30,000 local jobs.

"Priority will be given to resuming and increasing direct flights between China and Cambodia to provide more convenience for exchanges between the two countries," said Hu.

With the resumption of international travel by Chinese tourists, it is believed that tourism cooperation between the two countries will unleash great potential, Ren Hongbin, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), said at the Forum.

"Today, more than 300 business representatives have gathered in Beijing for in-depth exchanges on bilateral trade, investment and tourism to discuss plans for business cooperation in the new era," said Ren.

The Friday forum was co-held by the CCPIT, the China Chamber of International Commerce, the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce.

In order to welcome Chinese tourists to Cambodia, the country has conducted industry training and Chinese tour guides and tourism industry service personnel are assessed every year, Cambodia's Tourism Minister Thong Khon said at the forum.

Furthermore, Cambodia has encouraged the use and circulation of Chinese yuan and the use of electronic payments.

"It is expected that about 4 million travelers will visit Cambodia in 2023, of which 1 million will be Chinese tourists," Khon told the Global Times on the sidelines of the forum.

"I would like to take the opportunity of this forum to highlight that Cambodia welcomes Chinese investors," said Kith Meng, president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce.

"I believe that with the prime minister's visit to China, there will be more opportunities for more trade and more tourism," he said.

Meng also said that Chinese companies can take the opportunity to further export to Cambodia and ASEAN countries, which will improve their market share.

Chen Ridong, standing vice president of Hubei Representative Office of Cambodia International Chamber of Commerce, said that more Chinese enterprises will invest in Cambodia in 2023, especially those related to the agriculture industry.

"Agriculture and tourism are pillar industries of Cambodia. Chinese enterprises and institutions like the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences have shown willingness to invest in Cambodia, mainly to help increase agricultural technologies," Chen told the Global Times on Friday on the sidelines of the China-Cambodia Forum for economy and trade investment and tourism.

He also revealed that in November, a technology forum between China and Cambodia will probably be held in Wuhan in Central China's Hubei Province.

"To be honest, there are still some concerns about investing in some countries right now because of political factors. But there is no chance of trade friction between China and Cambodia," Chen noted, adding that China's investment cooperation with countries under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, especially Southeast Asian countries, will get better and better.