PHNOM PENH, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The 2022 Cambodia-China Trade and Investment Forum was convened in a hybrid format here on Wednesday, exploring ways to further boost business relations between the two countries.
Held under the theme "Share Development Opportunities and Create Regional Prosperity," the half-day forum was attended by some 100 business executives in person and dozens of others via video link.
Speaking at the event, Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's Secretary of State Seang Thay said China is the largest investor and top trading partner of Cambodia.
The Southeast Asian country attracted fixed asset investment of 2.32 billion U.S. dollars from China in 2021, up 67 percent from 1.39 billion dollars in the previous year.
On the trade side, the two-way trade volume was valued at 11.2 billion dollars in 2021, up 38 percent from 2020, he said.
"I'm very grateful to the government, investors, business people and people of China for always supporting economic development and trade in Cambodia," Thay said.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic has waned in Cambodia, I'd like to encourage foreign traders, industrialists, and investors to come and invest here for shared prosperity," he said.
He noted that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade deal and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement, which both entered into force on Jan. 1, 2022, would give a big boost to the development of economic and trade relations between Cambodia and China in the long term.
Thay also highlighted that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has not only played a key role in boosting China's economy and trade, but also enhanced regional and global cooperation in infrastructure, economy, trade, investment, cultural exchange, and people to people connectivity.
"Since its inception in 2013, the BRI has become the new engine of global economic growth," he said.
Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming, who participated in the forum via video link from Beijing, said the meeting was very important to promote the development of China-Cambodia economic and trade relations.
"I hope that all friends will take this opportunity to conduct in-depth exchanges, negotiate business opportunities, seek common development, and further promote China-Cambodia economic and trade cooperation for mutual benefit," he said.
Meanwhile, Qian said the Chinese-invested Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone has currently created about 30,000 jobs for locals and that the construction of other mega-projects such as the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway and the new Siem Reap International Airport has been making progress steadily.
At the event, Cambodian officials and business executives also introduced Cambodia's investment environment and law to their Chinese counterparts. A number of locally made products were also exhibited there.