The French trade minister is scheduled to visit Cambodia on Tuesday for a two-day trip to boost bilateral ties as part of Paris' increasing commitment to the region.
The visit by Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, follows a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris last year.
“This visit is in line with France's increased commitment to ASEAN, marked in 2022 by the participation of the President of the Republic Mr Macron in the G20 Summit in Bali and the APEC Summit in Bangkok,” the French Embassy said in a statement.
“Southeast Asia is a key region in France's Indo-Pacific strategy. It is the most economically dynamic region in the world with a particularly sustained growth rate. ASEAN is the European Union's third largest trading partner,” it added.
Becht will be accompanied by a business delegation and they will meet with Hun Sen, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, and Secretary General of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), Sok Chenda Sophea.
“He will meet on several occasions with the 5,000-strong French community in Cambodia, including representatives of the very dynamic business community,” the embassy added.
Becht will also attend a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the reconstruction of a monument honoring fallen Cambodian and French during the First World War.
He will also visit the Bakheng drinking water plant, financed by the Agence française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency), the European Investment Bank and the European Union.
In Siem Reap, Becht will visit the temples of Angkor, in particular the Western Mebon restoration project financed by France.
The visit comes ahead of an announcement by the embassy that France and Cambodia will soon hold their first political consultations.
In a tweet on Monday, French Ambassadeur Jacques Pellet and Cambodia foreign Secretary of State Chem Widhya signed a declaration of intent creating the mechanism for the consultations.
An important step in strengthening relations, the tweet said.