Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cambodia and Philippines to Promote Trade and Investment

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Republic of Philippines are now working and cooperating on economic sector in order to promote trade and investments opportunities for the benefits of the two countries in the future.

The signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Trade and Investment Promotion between the Philippines-Cambodia Business Council of the Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce was made by Oknha Kith Meng, President of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and General Jose P. Magno, Representative of Philippines-Business Council on July 9th in Phnom Penh.

Dr. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, said that the diplomatic relations between Cambodia and the Republic of Philippines were established way back in 1957, and the bilateral relations have strengthened over the years through high-level visits between leaders of the two countries.

The trade volume between Cambodia and Philippines in 2008 was valued at US$ 7, 373,130 while Cambodia exported to Philippines at the valued 1,418, 351. For the period from January to November 2009, total trade volume Cambodia-Philippine were US$ 18, 373, 306 while Cambodia exported to Philippines at the value of USD 9, 023, 516 and Cambodia imported from Philippines were US$ 9, 349, 790, according to H.E. Cham Prasidh.

He said that Cambodia is one of the 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the world, and has enjoyed trade preferences from the developed countries that allow goods produced in our country to be exported to their markets completely exempted from custom duties, a trade advantage that developing countries are not enjoying. Those markets which Cambodia enjoys trade preferences includes the European Union, Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, India, China.

“In line with this advantage, I think that building connectivity between the Philippines and Cambodia in term of bilateral trade and direct investment from the Philippines will further develop the required synergies to promote a win-win solution for both countries. The Republic of Philippines is a strong trading partner with Cambodia among ASEAN member states. Therefore, the current investments, trade exchanges and further economic cooperation projects. Cambodia welcomes and looks forward to many such Philippines ventures in business opportunities in the coming years,” he said.

Cambodia is strategically located in Southeast Asia and it is also an important part of the Southern Greater Sub-region Economic Corridor, and therefore is situated in a pivotal position, he said, adding that the prospects for the sustainable growth of Cambodia are due to twelve significant sectors including: macro-economic stability; sound, transparent and predicable legal framework, access to key markets through trade preferences in term of MFN/GSP; pro-business government; competitive investment incentives; one-stop-service investment promotion agency; investment protection, efficient infrastructure and strategic location; sound financial sector; abundant resources, labor, land.

“Cambodia government provides many incentives for investments, which have made it, and are an attractive destination for not only the ASEAN countries, but also countries from other parts of the world,” he said. “Since Cambodia is in the centre of ASEAN, manufacturers it also have the advantage of accessing 310 million consumers in the GMS region and 560 million consumers in ASEAN. It is hoped that with steady improvement in the connectivity in the GMS region, trade will flourish at a very fast rate,” he added.

He emphasized that the Cambodian private sector contributes 90 percent of employment in Cambodia. The agriculture sector has the largest share, comprising 70 percent of total employment, followed by the service sector with 15 percent and the industrial sector with 8 percent. On the other hand, the agricultural sector account for only 35 percent of GDP, while the service sector and the industrial sectors account for 35 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
“Cambodia is also one of the beneficiaries of the Generalized Systems of the Preferences (GSP) Schemes operated by developed countries,” he said. “Under this Scheme, important tariffs on many products from Cambodia are exempted or reduced if requirements such as rules of origin are fulfilled.”

Both Cambodia and Philippines share many commonalities in their economic pattern, and experience sharing can be of a great benefit for both our countries.

“I am confident that Cambodia-Philippines business and commercial engagements can be a win-win situation for both our countries. Philippines investors and businessmen should take this opportunity to explore business opportunities in Cambodia,” he said. “I am delighted to witness today the signing of a MoU between the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.”
The First Philippine Trade and Investment was held from 9th to 10th July at the Hotel Inter-Continental in Phnom Penh. The event was organized by the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippine jointly with Philippines-Cambodia Business Council, the RFM Corporate Export Division.

Roberto De Venecia, Vice Chairman of the Philippines-Cambodia Council in Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the event has two main component activities. The first is a trade and product exhibition by more than 20 Philippine companies. The second is an investment mission by Philippine companies exploring investment opportunities in Cambodia.

He continued to say that the trade and product exhibition has displayed products such as processed food including canned food and beverages, beer, wine, health care, personal care, and beauty products. Other products on display are traditional Philippines fabric and portable videoke (karaoke) equipment. He added that the event provides the general public with the opportunity to view, taste, or sample the featured products, which are high quality leading brands in the Philippines. It is also a trade and business opportunity to importers, distributors, and the wholesale buyers in Cambodia looking for traditional products or products lines.

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