Ms. Kim Tol Tan has been inaugurated as the Sweden Honorary Consul in Cambodia at an event to launch the new Swedish consular office in Phnom Penh after the Swedish government closed its embassy office last year.
The event held at Phnom Penh International University (PPIU) was attended by Jon Åström Gröndahl Swedish Ambassador to Thailand, Nuon Pharat, Vice Governor of Phnom Penh Municpal, PPIU rector Madame Tep Kolap as well as other members of the diplomatic and business community.
To read more about Kim Tol Tan’s work with the AmCham Women’s Committee click here.
The Swedish government announced in 2020 the planned closure of its embassy in Phnom Penh after the Scandinavian country decided to cease bilateral aid due to “Cambodia’s democratic backslide”.
The Swedish government however will retain its previous embassy location as well as its section office for development cooperation located in Phnom Penh Tower.
Sweden is keeping a physical presence in Cambodia
Ms. Kim Tol Tan will be responsible for all consular duties, helping consular colleagues in Thailand, to better serve the need of Swedes and their interests in Cambodia and the region.
Jon Åström Gröndahl outlined in his opening remarks that the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aiming to modernize its diplomatic and consular staff and Kim Tol Tan was an ideal candidate for this position.
“Working in the diplomatic core over the last 10 years I have learned of the importance of having a physical office in country. This is not only for assisting Swedes in need but also for taking care and promoting Swedish interests,” Jon said.
The ambassador also explained the Swedish Ministry of Affairs is aiming to increase the diversity of its consular staff through gender balancing and hiring younger representatives that are in tune with the modern world.
“In my opinion, Ms. Kim Tol Tan embodies all the qualities that the Swedish Foreign Ministry is looking for in our consular officials and I am confident she will be successful in fulfilling her appointment and can always count on the embassy for support,” Jon said.
Ms. Kim Tol Tan stated in her welcoming speech of the great privilege and opportunity the Swedish government has given her as well as the Swedish connections she established through her previous employment experience.
Addressing questions on how Ms. Kim Tan was offered the opportunity, she said it all started with her return to Cambodia three years ago, with an opportunity to run a multinational Swedish company. From there, she had developed connections with the embassy after working with Sweden’s last Ambassador to Cambodia Mr. Björn Häggmark.
“I am now looking forward to working with Mr. Jon Åström Gröndahl the Ambassador to Thailand and the rest of the Sweden consular officers. I am grateful for the trust bestowed on me to take on the appointment as the Sweden Honorary Consul, as a Cambodian citizen,” she said.
Sweden and Cambodia is aiming to increase bilateral trade
According to the Swedish government trade relations with Cambodia are limited, but an increasing number of Swedish companies operate in Cambodia. H & M and MILVIK (Bima Cambodia) have offices in Phnom Penh. Both H & M and IKEA buy goods from Cambodia.
There are also several Swedish entrepreneurs, in the tourism industry, working in Cambodia. The Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board has for some years now approved credit for exports to Cambodia although country risk is rated high.
According to the embassy, in 2019 the Swedish government provided nearly $24 million as development assistance to the Kingdom, based on bilateral development cooperation. The Scandinavian country’s humanitarian aid to Cambodia started in 1979.