China’s Shaanxi province is calling for stronger trade and commercial ties with the Kingdom.
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Officials in Shaanxi, in central China, are urging companies from the province to consider investing in Cambodia and have requested stronger cooperation and more exchanges between Shaanxi province and the Kingdom.
Speaking during a meeting with journalists from Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) countries in Xi’an on Friday, Shi Zhijun, deputy director of Shaanxi’s provincial department of commerce, described Shaanxi-Cambodia trade as “not enough”, especially when compared to other countries in the region like Indonesia or Thailand.
“Hundreds of Cambodian officials attended the Silk Road Expo this year. Shaanxi and Cambodia signed a friendship agreement, and there are frequent economic and trade cooperation exchanges between Shaanxi and Cambodia,” he said.
“In this time of good relations between Shaanxi province and Cambodia, we want to see more exchanges and cooperation in all fields,” Mr Zhijun said.
He said that despite frequent visits from Cambodian officials to the Chinese province, bilateral trade is still “low”.
“We encourage companies in Shaanxi province to invest in Cambodia. Recently, we have established a business platform to provide risk assessments and other financial services.”
In May 2017, Cambodia launched a commercial centre in Xi’an city, Shaanxi’s capital, to boost trade between the two countries and provide access to information on the Kingdom’s market.
During the launch of the centre, Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak said trade between Shaanxi province and Cambodia was worth $1.2 billion in 2016, while trade with China as a whole was valued at $4.5 billion.
“Our commercial and consular offices in China have helped us a lot. We should open as many as possible since it is such a big country. Business people, investors, and tourists will visit our commercial offices to ask about investment, trade, and tourism in Cambodia,” Mr Sorasak said.
Former Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo said that Shaanxi province is an important centre of culture, industry, technology, and research. He praised the BRI for having allowed Shaanxi to open its doors to the world.
On Friday, Mr Zhijun said that as a result of the ambitious project the province has opened up.
“Under the guidance of the Belt & Road Initiative, we have achieved many of our targets, including further opening up,” Mr Zhijun said.
He said that in 2018, trade between Shaanxi province and BRI countries reached 38.9 billion yuan ($5.6 billion), a 20.4 percent year-on-year increase.
“The accumulated investment in countries along the BRI has reached $81.4 million,” he added.
Mr Zhijun vowed to improve the Silk Road Expo to promote stronger cooperation in cross-border trade and e-commerce among BRI countries.
“We will invite enterprises to attend economic and trade expositions, including the China International Import Expo, the China-Asean Expo, and the China International Fair for Investment Trade,” he said.