Products from neighboring Thailand are still considered the best for many Cambodian consumers, and this is an incentive for Thai companies to set up branches in the country – taking advantage of the positive investment climate prevailing in the kingdom.
“We are very happy to see support from Cambodians for Thai products. They support us because our products are manufactured according to high standards and are also competitively priced,” said Nuttarath Kanjanasuda, regional trade marketing manager of Mali Group, at the sidelines of the Top Thai Products 2017 Expo at the Koh Pich Exhibition Center.
Mr. Nuttarath said Thai products are easily available to Cambodians because it was very easy to bring them into the country overland.
The popular Thai products range from food and beverages to kitchenware and building materials.
For Dhanandhorn Sutejitsiri, garment section manager of Thai-Sino Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Cambodia presents immense opportunities for business expansion.
“There is a large consumer base in the country with people having disposable income to purchase products that they like,” said Ms. Dhanandhorn.
“I think if we have more experience in the Cambodian market, we can certainly expand our business here. Cambodian people just love Thai products,” she added.
Ms. Dhanandhorn said because of strong consumer support, her company was seeking partnerships and joint ventures with local Cambodian enterprises.
“We are seeking to make more value-added garment products together with Cambodian companies,” she said. The construction of the 6.5-kilometer cross-border railway linking Poipet in Banteay Meanchey province to neighboring Thailand’s Sa Keo province is due to be completed this year.
The agreement to link railways between the two countries was made by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart Prayuth Chan-o-cha in late 2015 and aims to boost trade and travel. It is hoped it will boost bilateral trade to up to $15 billion by 2020.
Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to the government’s Supreme National Economic Council, said previously he was optimistic the linkage would attract investors from Thailand to Cambodia because it would be cheaper to transport goods overland.
“When the railway is in operation, it will boost efficiency of the transport of goods and agricultural products because of low transport fees,” he said.
Mali Group’s Mr. Nuttarath said compared to other CLMV – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – countries, Cambodia has the best potential to attract companies from Thailand.
“In Cambodia purchasing power is strong compared to Laos or Myanmar. Also the development of industries is more advanced,” said Mr. Nuttarath.
“For Vietnam, manufacturing is already saturated – with the country dominating the sector with its own factories.”
He said that due to strong trade links between Thailand and Cambodia, the bilateral trade target of $15 billion by 2020 could be reached.
Patou Vongsiriphansopa, international sales manager of Mazuma (Thailand), agreed with Mr. Nuttarath.
“Reaching the $15 billion target by 2020 would not be a problem. Cambodians support Thai products and their country is open for Thai businesses.”
Last year, the bilateral trade volume of Cambodia and Thailand was valued at $5.6 billion, a $100 million rise compared with 2015, according to figures provided by the Thai embassy in Cambodia. Thai exports to Cambodia last year were worth $4.7 billion while Cambodian exports to Thailand were valued at $936 million, a 46 percent increase compared with 2015.
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