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Billion-dollar business push

VIETNAM will invest an additional US$1.3 billion in Cambodia over the next two years. Speaking at a business forum in Phnom Penh yesterday, the director general of Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, Phan The Hao, said the investment would begin to flow late this year or by early 2011.

“We hope the investment will be fully supported by the Cambodian government,” he said, during a speech to representatives from 131 Cambodian and Vietnamese companies.

Vietnam sees future in Cambodia

“The two countries have cooperated for a long time.” The investment, he said, would be aimed at seven projects in sectors including oil and gas, electricity, minerals exploration, rubber and agriculture.
Vietnam was eager to make the move, as relations were strong between the two nations, Phan The Hao said, and the countries were linked by a similar culture and lifestyle, as well as a long border.

“We have already got the projects ready to go. Whether we can start quickly depends on Cambodia,” he said.

Cambodian Investment Board chairman Suon Sithy said yesterday that the government welcomed “all investment” to the Kingdom.
In recent years, Vietnamese firms have increased their presence in Cambodia.

Viettel, for example, owned by the Vietnamese military, launched its mobile-phone service domestically in February 2009, and has grown to become the second-largest by subscriber numbers.

Agribank, Vietnam’s largest bank by total assets, opened its first Cambodian branch in June.

Statistics from Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade showed the Kingdom’s eastern neighbour invested $400 million in seven Cambodian projects from July 2009 to July 2010.

The investment came in the banking, tourism, power, telecommunication and rubber sectors.

Vietnamese investments given the green light by the Cambodian Investment Board totalled $120 million during the first six months of the year, Suon Sithy said.

“We hope that Vietnam will remain one of the top sources of investment in Cambodia, just like last year,”he said.

Vietnam ranked as the third-largest investor in Cambodia last year, sinking a total of $352 million into the Kingdom.

In May, Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated a joint aim to see bilateral trade reach $2 billion during 2010, a figure that looks accurate.



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