Interview with Cyril Girot, EuroCham Vice-Chairman and CCIFC Chairman

This week, we spoke with EuroCham Vice Chairman and CCIFC Chairman Cyril Girot about the upcoming France-Cambodia Business Forum (8-10 July), a semi-annual event that invites French businesspeople and diplomats to Cambodia to meet with government officials and explore market opportunities. This year, Prime Minister Hu Manet will join the event, joined by other top government officials. You can book your tickets for the event HERE.

EuroCham: The France-Cambodia Business Forum is primed to be a big event again after the success of the 2022 forum, which saw many company representatives from France visit Cambodia. What are you excited about for this year’s edition?

Cyril Girot: 2022’s edition of France-Cambodia Business Forum set the momentum. The 3-day event of next July will continue this momentum. More French companies will take a closer look at business opportunities in Cambodia and hopefully should thus materialize their interest in this event.

Additionally, the 2024 forum follows the visit of Cambodia's Prime Minister, Samdech Moha Borvor Thipadei Hun Manet, to France last January. During his visit, he met with prominent French companies such as Accor, VINCI Airports, and Total Energies, as well as several startups. He conveyed a very positive image of Cambodia as a pro-business destination, encouraging French companies already operating in Cambodia to increase their investments, and urging potential investors to take the plunge.

So, this 2024 forum edition is designed to provide potential investors additional comprehensive details about the business environment here in Cambodia. The latter will be able to network with Cambodian counterparts and high-ranking officials. On the final day of the forum, participants will have the opportunity to join a field trip to Sihanoukville for a first-hand experience about the country’s dynamism.

EuroCham: As the recently elected chairman of the CCIFC, what are your priorities for the chamber and how does the France-Cambodia Business Forum help you achieve these goals?

Girot: Chambers of commerce play a key role by connecting companies with each other and with governmental bodies. Driven by a pro-business mindset, they also advise relevant stakeholders on crafting appropriate measures for business development.

At the CCFIC, in collaboration with EuroCham, our role is to energize business activity in Cambodia and to strengthen economic ties between Cambodia and its partners and prospects. The forum will be a unique opportunity to pursue these priorities efficiently, bringing together key players in one place and time.

EuroCham: There has been a recent push for increased economic relations between France and Cambodia, with Prime Minister Hun Manet visiting France earlier this year. Why is now a good time for France and Cambodia to strengthen their economic partnership?

Girot: Against this backdrop, I would say that there is an alignment of interests. Cambodia is keen to diversify its FDI sources and French/European companies are getting more and more interested in the huge ASEAN market with its population of nearly 720 million people.

Specifically, there’s room for more French investments in Cambodia either by companies with a current footprint in the country or new ones. There’s a real sentimental bond between the two nations (see the prospect of Francophonie Summit in 2026, among other things!). This makes it conducive to the strengthening of the economic partnership.

I would also like to add that French/European companies are also at the vanguard for energy transition (waste management, recycling, renewable energy…) and therefore contribute to know-how transfer for the benefit of Cambodia.

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