The statement was released following Thailand’s The Nation report on Nov 20 that CP All, the local operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores, had suspended its plan to launch 7-Eleven stores in Laos and Cambodia because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in both countries, reporting that the company would go ahead with the launch plan once the outbreak situation improved.
CP ALL (Cambodia) and CP All (Laos) have each been granted 30 years of franchising rights for the establishment and operation of 7-Eleven stores. CP All’s Thailand operation is ploughing ahead with plans to open another 700 branches in Thailand this year. A total of 513 of the planned 700 had already opened as of September, according to Thailand’s The Nation.
Cambodian Ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn said major Thai businesses such as CP All Plc (the sole operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores) and TCC Group (the operator of Big C supermarkets) have pledged to expand their investments in Cambodia this year.
“Besides these two conglomerates, we also received [substantial] interest from Thai businesspeople who wish to explore partnership opportunities in Cambodia after we signed our first bilateral Free-Trade-Agreement (FTA) with China. These investments will significantly contribute to the growing trade between the two countries,” he added.
Sorphorn added the Cambodian embassy to Thailand, through its commercial office, has provided the company with up-to-date information on Cambodian investment opportunities, technical consultation and full support in business registration for their head office in Cambodia.
“Recently, we also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangkok-based law firm iLAWASIA, to provide legal advice and support to Cambodian and Thai business people. Moreover, we are now working with Thailand’s Horeca Investment Co Ltd to setup the first-ever Cambodia Business Council Centre (CBCC), a one-stop business chamber for Cambodia in Thailand’s main capital.”
Sorphorn also said the CBCC, once operational, will help promote Cambodian products by providing information and training programmes to entrepreneurs and facilitating bilateral trade and investment between the two countries in support of the $15 billion bilateral trade goal targeted by the two nations’ prime ministers for 2021.
“Cambodia is an emerging country that has experienced strong economic growth, with an average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth near 7 percent over the last two decades,” the ambassador said.
He added that this stable growth has created many opportunities for Thai and other foreign firms to generate favourable returns on Cambodian investments. Although Thailand remains in lockdown, Thai investors are still seeking business and investment opportunities in Cambodia in part because many are aware of the Thai plus-one strategy, the new investment law and the deep reforms spearheaded by the Cambodian government to improve the business climate for foreign investors.
According to statistics from the Cambodian embassy in Thailand, during the first 10 months of 2020, Thailand’s cross-border trade with Cambodia, (including transit trade), amounted to $6.1 billion, a 21 percent decrease compared with the $7.7 billion reached during the same period in 2019.
Cambodia’s exports to Thailand totalled $1 billion, a decline of 51.5 percent year-on-year with 2019’s $2.1 billion. Imports from Thailand were valued at $5.1 billion, down 11 percent year-on-year, compared with 2019’s same period total of $5.6 billion. These statistics represent a Cambodian trade deficit with Thailand of $ 4.1 billion.
Source: Khmer Times