Cambodian Premier Hun Sen receives Turkish delegation, seeks investment in agriculture, storage, processing facilities
To boost bilateral trade to around $1 billion, Cambodia has sought investments from Turkiye in agriculture, storage, and processing facilities for exports to the EU and other nations.
During a meeting in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Wednesday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Turkiye’s Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Vahit Kirisci discussed bilateral relations and ways to boost investment between the two countries.
Kirisci is leading a Turkish delegation, which includes Turkish lawmaker Serap Yasar, to attend a two-day Türkiye-Cambodia Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting in Phnom Penh.
Sen invited Turkish investors to invest in processing units in Cambodia by creating a network to purchase produce from Cambodian farmers and build storage facilities to boost export to Turkiye and other countries.
“The Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Turkiye will strengthen the already-signed cooperation agreements and expand their bilateral cooperation to many other potential sectors,” Cambodian state-run AKP News reported.
Eang Sophalleth, the Cambodian premier’s personal assistant, said: “The potential areas for Cambodia-Turkiye cooperation include agriculture, agricultural processing for export, aquaculture, agricultural machinery, construction, IT,food processing and halal food, education, direct flight, and beyond.”
Vahit Kirisci was “positive that with the expansion of cooperation between the two countries, the bilateral trade volume will reach US$1,000 million a year,” the report added.
The current bilateral trade between the two transcontinental nations rose to $462.63 million in the past five years until 2021. The trade volume in the first 11 months last year reached $136.149 million – an increase of 63.6% year-on-year basis.
Sen also said the two sides should “consider the double taxation agreement to encourage more investors.”
It was last February that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn signed an “Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion.”
The two nations established diplomatic relations on Nov. 7, 1959.
After his meeting with Sen, Kirisci said on Twitter: “We will continue to work in the same spirit of brotherhood with Cambodia, a friendly and brotherly country, to increase and develop the cooperation between the two countries.”
‘Strategic gateway’ to EU, other markets
Cambodian businesses see Turkiye “as a strategically-placed gateway for domestic firms to penetrate into EU and other nearby markets,” according to the daily Phnom Penh Post.
In the run-up to the two-day JEC meeting starting Tuesday, Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce along with 14 relevant inter-ministerial institutions had last week discussed “how to best benefit from Cambodia-Turkiye bilateral relations, in line with the post-COVID-19 economic recoveries of both nations.”
The discussions covered several priority areas, including trade, investment, business, industry, science, technology and innovation, halal affairs, small- and medium-sized enterprises, agriculture, transportation, civil aviation, health, education, and tourism, according to the ministry.
Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, “hailed Turkiye as a promising market for Cambodian goods and a potential springboard to access other European and Asian markets.”
Calling Turkiye an “economic hub,” he said: “The two countries have laid foundations for the expansion of bilateral economic ties.”
Striking an optimistic note to build on the agreement reached between Sen and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Heng said: “We can look further to boosting economic cooperation. Turkish investors have great potential to come and invest more in Cambodia. They have urged the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce to help further the trade ties.”