Special business visas for French citizens – similar to those already available to Chinese and South Korean investors – may be a reality in the near future, with the French ambassador expressing interest in enhancing “business visa cooperation” between both nations.
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Eva Nguyen Binh, France’s ambassador to Cambodia, made the remarks on Tuesday during a meeting with Sar Kheng, the Minister of Interior.
“France and Cambodia have had a longstanding relationship for a long time. I would like to have business visa cooperation between Cambodia and France, and this is very much in line with the work of the Ministry of Interior of Cambodia,” she said.
Cooperation between both nations has yielded plenty of results, including significant achievements in the training and development of Cambodia’s workforce, Ms Nguyen Binh said.
“For the benefit of citizens from both nations, I will try to cooperate with the Cambodian Ministry of Interior in order to increase business visas to investors,” she said.
Minister of Interior Mr Kheng welcomed the idea, saying relations between Cambodia and France would be strengthened as a result.
Ms Nguyen Binh also pledged to enhance cooperation with Cambodia to put an end to counterfeiting in the kingdom.
France plays an important role in Cambodia’s economy, with major enterprises from the European nation having established a presence in the kingdom, including the Vinci Group, Total and AccorHotels. There are also many SMEs owned by French citizens.
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, accounting for 0.6 percent of the Cambodian market.
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 garments and footwear products, as well as some food products.