Cambodia rolling out red carpet for S'pore firms

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cordial reception: Mr Hun Sen and Mr Lee had a closed-door meeting where they agreed that both sides could explore areas of cooperation such as tourism

July 27, 2010
The Business Times (Singapore)

Hun Sen committed to conducive and friendly business environment

CAMBODIA is rolling out the red carpet for Singapore companies to invest there, with the invitation coming from none other than the kingdom's Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The 59-year-old leader, who is in Singapore for a three-day bilateral visit, told a business luncheon yesterday that he was 'personally committed' to ensure a 'conducive and friendly business environment' for all those keen to expand into Cambodia.

'You have the capital, the know-how and the experience. Let's combine your assets with our endowments and potential,' he said in a speech to some 120 guests at the Shangri-La Hotel. Among them were over 50 of Singapore's most prominent business leaders, including the chief executives of SilkAir, Fraser & Neave and Keppel Integrated Engineering.

'My key message today is that Cambodia is open for businesses to you, the Singaporean investors. We wait to welcome you,' he said at the luncheon which was hosted by Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang.

Mr Hun Sen said that his government is busy streamling processes and formalities for private investments, and would do all it could to reduce the cost of doing business in Cambodia, such as by strengthening governance and bringing down transport and electricity costs.

Singapore's economic agencies and business associations have stepped up their level of engagement with Cambodia over the past 18 months, with six business missions and study trips organised to the kingdom to explore potential opportunities there.

Last month, trade promotion agency International Enterprise Singapore led an agri-food mission to various Cambodian provinces, the second such trip in the past year.

Among the participating companies were HLH Agriculture, a wholly-owned subsidiary of mainboard-listed HLH Group whose interest is in large-scale corn cultivation for feedstock. Another firm, Singapore Agri-Tech, took part because of its interest in rice cultivation for both domestic and export purposes.

Many small and medium-sized enterprises are also increasingly looking towards Cambodia as a lucrative destination for trade and investment, said Mr Lim. Bilateral trade has been improving steadily of late, with total trade reaching $1.3 billion in the first six months of this year - a 62 per cent jump over the same period last year. In the whole of last year, the Republic's investments rose eight-fold from the previous year to US$278 million, bringing total investment in the last 15 years to US$602 million. Singapore is Cambodia's eighth-largest foreign investor.

It was a busy day for Mr Hun Sen and his high-level delegation, which included his deputy and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Senior Minister and Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh, as well as a business delegation from the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce. He was first welcomed at the Istana by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, following which they had a closed-door meeting where they agreed that both sides could explore areas of cooperation such as tourism.

Besides a separate courtesy call on President S R Nathan and his wife, Mr Hun Sen also visited the Marina Barrage before returning to the Istana where Mr Lee hosted a dinner in his honour. The Cambodian leader leaves for home later today after playing a round of golf and lunching with Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.


Post a Comment