Starting Saturday, the city of Phnom Penh will celebrate the French language, Francophone culture and the strong business and cultural relations between France and Cambodia with a series of business, science and cultural events organised by the French Embassy and the French Chamber of Commerce.
The event runs from March 17-30, and commemorates International Francophonie Day, which is celebrated around the world on March 20.
According to the French Embassy, the two-week event will lure a host of companies from the European country who will be looking for investment opportunities in the kingdom.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Eva Nguyen Binh, France’s Ambassador to Cambodia, said the French government and French enterprises with activities in the kingdom are fully committed to the development of the country.
She said the upcoming event will strengthen economic and diplomatic ties, and increase awareness of French influence in Cambodia.
“We hope to see an increase in bilateral trade volume following the event,” she said.
Guillaume Massin, president of the French Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, said they hope to see a big turnout of French companies during the event.
“We are cooperating with EuroCham Cambodia and other partners to attract French companies in hopes they will eventually decide to invest in the country,” Mr Massin said, adding that over 400 French companies already operate in the kingdom.
Last year alone, 300 French companies visited the kingdom seeking investment opportunities in the garment, tourism and agriculture sectors, according to Fondation Prospective et Innovation (FPI), a French NGO
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, France’s former prime minister and president of FPI, lauded Cambodia’s rapid economic growth and praised the country’s “substantial labour force, abundant natural resources and favorable location” during a visit to the kingdom.
Bilateral trade is increasing and in 2016 stood at $1.09 billion, according to a report from the French Embassy. France remains Cambodia’s leading European trading partner.
Imports from France were valued at $163 million last year, with food products and pharmaceuticals as the top commodities traded. Cambodian exports totaled $931.5 million, made up almost exclusively of garments and footwear products, as well as some food products.