Cambodia Investment Review

Leader Talks: Sven Callebaut on Increasing Australian Trade & Investment into Cambodia

Leader Talks: Sven Callebaut on Increasing Australian Trade & Investment into Cambodia

Cambodia Investment Review

Trade and Investment Specialist Mr. Sven Callebaut, spoke with CIR Leader Talk on enhancing the economic relationships between Australia and Cambodia, with the release of the flagship ‘Handbook on Investing in Cambodia’ by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), in partnership with the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).

Read more: Australian Government & Council for the Development of Cambodia Launch Flagship ‘Handbook On Investing In Cambodia’

Launched in July 2023 the comprehensive guide aims to simplify regulatory procedures, highlight investment opportunities, and collate testimonials from influential Australian investors and business owners in Cambodia. It was unveiled with an overarching intention to solidify economic connections and promote trade and investment with Cambodia, in line with Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy projected up to 2040.

Emergence of Prominent Industries in Cambodia

Speaking on the emergence of prominent industries, Callebaut observed, “Logistics and supply chain have become promising sectors, thanks to Cambodia’s strategic location at the heart of Southeast Asia, coupled with heavy investment in infrastructure.” He also underlined the growth in fintech and e-commerce, identifying Cambodia’s cash-based society’s growing demand for digital services as a key driver.

“Agricultural manufacturing presents vast opportunities as Cambodia is a major producer of agricultural products, and there is an increasing demand for processed goods,” Callebaut said. The tourism industry, supported by Cambodia’s rich history and culture, is still an attractive sector. Opportunities in the Healthcare sector, although not mentioned in the Handbook, are growing, driven by a demographic transition and an increasing population of elderly people.

‘Handbook On Investing In Cambodia’ at Rosewood Hotel Phnom Penh on July 10, 2023.

The education sector received special attention, with Callebaut explaining, “Education is becoming increasingly prominent in Cambodia due to governmental awareness of its essential role in economic development, growing demand, and efforts to improve standards and quality. The growth of this sector presents opportunities for foreign investors, notably Australian, in schools, universities, educational technology, and resources.”

Significant Agreements Cambodia Has Entered Into

Discussing new trade agreements, Callebaut detailed the significant agreements Cambodia has entered into. “The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a landmark agreement, expected to boost trade and investment in Cambodia. The Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) signed in 2022 is another milestone, eliminating tariffs on most goods traded with China,” he noted.

He also described the potential impacts of the Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Cambodia and the UAE.

Read more: Australia & Cambodia’s Private Sector Seek Closer Ties with Liaison Office in Melbourne

“These agreements are expected to make Cambodian goods more competitive through the elimination of tariffs. They are also likely to foster foreign investments, create jobs, boost economic growth, accelerate regional integration and strengthen relationships with key countries,” Callebaut explained.

For new investors, Callebaut emphasized thorough research, stating, “Understanding the local market, regulatory environment, tax regime, and political climate is vital.” He also recommended to seek guidance from local experts or partners and offered encouragement: “Be patient and persistent. Cambodia’s development takes time, but the potential is there.”

The Cambodian Economy Is Growing Rapidly

Further insights for existing investors included: “The Cambodian economy is growing rapidly. The handbook provides insights into emerging opportunities, such as the growth of the digital economy and increasing demand for processed agricultural products. The government is constantly updating regulations, and the handbook provides up-to-date information to help investors make informed decisions.”

Panel discussion on ‘Handbook On Investing In Cambodia’ at Rosewood Hotel Phnom Penh on July 10, 2023.

Discussing the Handbook on Investing in Cambodia, Callebaut, who lead the team formulating the handbook, highlighted its uniqueness, being co-published by the Council for the Development of Cambodia and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“It’s up-to-date and comprehensive, including the latest information on the Cambodian economy, regulatory environment, and investment opportunities,” he said. He also praised its accessibility and the inclusion of investor case studies, which offer “valuable insights and lessons learned.”

Scan The QR To Download the ‘Handbook on Investing in Cambodia’ Here.

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