The Boao Forum for Asia-Phnom Penh Conference brought together this week Chinese and Cambodian leading businesspeople and politicians to discuss economic ties between the countries and promote inter-regional economic cooperation.
Held Wednesday at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, the forum also gave Chinese investor a tantalising glimpse into the Kingdom’s huge economic potential.
Held under the theme ‘Seeking common development and a win-win strategy: A joint endeavor to bring China-Cambodia economic cooperation and trade into a new era’, the event was co-hosted by the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and the Boao Forum for Asia.
The Boao Forum for Asia is a non-profit organisation that hosts high-level forums for leaders from government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to discuss pressing issues in the region and the world.
This is the first time the Boao Forum holds an event in the Kingdom.
Kith Meng, president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said the forum could not have been held at a more propitious time, with the countries now celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
“I strongly believe that this conference would serve as an excellent platform for Chinese entrepreneurs to gain insight into the business environment and the economic policies of the government,” Mr Meng said.
“It will also serve to introduce the Boao Forum to the Cambodian government and the business community.”
Xiong Bo, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia, said the Boao Forum for Asia is one of the most influential international organisations in Asia-Pacific and a top-level dialogue platform for politicians and business leaders in Asia and the world.
He said the forum has become an important vehicle for China’s opening to the outside world. Mr Xiong referenced a speech by Xi Jinping delivered during the Boao Forum for Asia’s annual gathering in April in which the Chinese premier emphasised China’s policy of openness, insisting that China will continue to open up.
Mr Xiong explained that China is the Boao Forum for Asia’s permanent host, while Cambodia serves as a sponsor.
“Cambodia’s huge development space and potential, and highly open foreign investment policies are receiving increasing attention from international investors,” Mr Xiong said.
“We sincerely hope that the Boao Forum for Asia-Phnom Penh Conference will help Asia and the world learn more about Cambodia’s potential as an ideal investment destination and to promote foreign investment in Cambodia, including China.”
Li Baodong, secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia, said the event will allow policymakers and business leaders to share innovative ideas on economic cooperation within Asia.
“The purpose of the forum is to advance the globalised economy and economic cooperation in Asia,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong used the event to highlight the strengthening of ties between China and Cambodia.
“I believe the forum will help attract more Chinese investors to Cambodia. I encourage Chinese investors to seize the many opportunities for investment in the Kingdom,” he said.
Mr Namhong said China is now investing in virtually every sector of economic activity, from construction to textiles, and from agriculture to infrastructure, electricity generation and special economic zones.
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and China is growing steadily, he added. Last year, $5.8 billion worth of goods were exchange, and by 2020 the figure is expected to reach $6 billion.