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French businesses help boost Kingdom’s economy

As Cambodia gears up for the second France-Cambodia Business Forum next week, the Kingdom is awash with French-owned business success stories. Prominent French names in the business sector highlighted the infinite potential of Cambodia’s economy. The upcoming event follows the inaugural Cambodia Branding Forum on March 28, 2024.

Organised by the France-Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFC) together with the Cambodia Committee of French Foreign Trade Advisors (CCEF) and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the event also has the support of the French Embassy in Cambodia, MEDEF International, and the Cambodian Oknha Association. Scheduled for July 8-10, the event will be staged under the presidency of Prime Minister Hun Manet.

Last year trade between the two countries soared to €1,363 million, making France the second biggest European trading partner, just behind Germany. French exports shot up 31 percent over the previous year. Exports mainly comprised agri-food, pharmaceuticals, metallurgical and metal products. In the same year, French imports from Cambodia notched €1,192 million, mainly in textiles, agri-food and bicycles.

There has also been a significant hike in French investments with stock escalating to approximately €560 million. This has mainly been in the sectors of construction, agro-industry and services.

French firms have been involved in critical infrastructure projects, including airports, transportation, telecommunications and energy, said Charles Julliard, Executive Director, French Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (CCIFC) to Khmer Times on Tuesday. These projects have not only improved the country’s infrastructure but also facilitated smoother business operations and connectivity, which are crucial for economic growth.

Investments in airports made by French group VINCI (almost $1 billion invested since 1995) have fostered tourism development and, more generally, economic development of the country.

Today, as French investment in terms of FDI in Cambodia, is behind the US, Canada or the UK, there is a huge potential for improvement, said Tea Thierry, VP, Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation. French businesses have been actively part of the Cambodian business ecosystem. He mentioned the presence of names like Total, Accor or Bolloré contributing to developing local talents and international standards in key industries from energy and hospitality to logistics.

French contributions are characterised by quality, cultural integration, and sustainability in specific sectors, said Jeremie Clement, General Manager, Peninsula Phnom Penh. French businesses have primarily focused on hospitality, retail, banking, and infrastructure, with notable contributions from companies like Decathlon, BRED Bank and Vinci.

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