More than 300 French companies could be making their way to Cambodia seeking investments in the garment, textile, tourism and agriculture sectors, according to French NGO Fondation Prospective Innovation (FPI).
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, France’s former prime minister who is now a senator and president of FPI, said on Thursday he acknowledged Cambodia’s rapid economic growth rate in Southeast Asia and added that the country had “a substantial labour force, abundant natural resources and a favourable location for ensuring long-term investment”.
“Through FPI, France will gather over 300 French companies and private enterprises to study the feasibility of investing in Cambodia in the near future,” he told the French Senate.
He said that companies and private enterprises would go to Cambodia and invest in garments, textiles, agriculture, and tourism sectors.
“The forthcoming investment will help Cambodia’s exports to the EU grow more and more, especially in the purchase of garments, textiles and agricultural products,” he was quoted as telling the Senate.
Earlier, Cambodian Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak addressed the French Senate and said the kingdom had over the years maintained an average GDP growth rate of about 7 percent and was constantly striving to create a better business environment for investors.
Also present at the French Senate were several diplomats and key industrialists. Mr Sorasak led a delegation to the Apparel Sourcing Paris 2017 exhibition that was held from September 18 to 21. Also in the delegation was Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).
Mr Sorasak told the French Senate that the European Union’s “Everything but Arms” policy allowed Cambodia to export all kinds of goods to the EU without paying any tariffs or taxes.
“We invite all French companies to continue their good cooperation with Cambodia and to further invest in our country’s industries that manufacture garments, textiles, footwear, agricultural products and other potential products,” said Mr Sorasak.
GMAC president Mr Sou Ieng said his association was working closely with the Ministry of Commerce to get access to more apparel markets.
“Even though most of our exports go to Europe, we are striving to expand our markets further. This year we brought nine Cambodian companies to the fair in Paris,” he said.
“I’m glad Cambodia has been given this honour.”
According to Cambodia’s General Department of Customs and Excise, exports of garments and footwear rose by 7.2 per cent to $7.3 billion in 2016, up from $6.8 billion in 2015. Ministry of Commerce figures indicate that Cambodia’s garment exports to the EU grew by 14 percent in 2016 to $3.8 billion.