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Business summits set to start

Cambodian security forces patrol in front of the Council of Ministers ahead of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Reuters

Prime Minister Hun Sen will open the 2012 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, to run from the 17th to the 18th, in Phnom Penh tomorrow, ahead of the 21st ASEAN Summit on Monday.

The summit is being held in an attempt to increase regional trade and investment.

The premier of the People’s Republic of China, Wen Jiabao, will give the closing remarks for the summit.

Specific areas of focus during the summit will be opportunities and challenges of expanding markets in East Asia, the potential of renewable energy in ASEAN and capitalising on ASEAN connectivity, as well as prospects for increasing ASEAN’s position as a competitive investment hub, according to the official schedule.

Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), said the summit was organised in partnership with the CCC and the Ministry of Commerce.

So far, more than 1,200 domestic companies from all sectors have registered for the summit led by Kith Meng, president of the CCC and the chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council.

“This is the first ever ASEAN business and investment summit in our country despite the fact that we’ve previously served as chairman,” he said.

“It’s received so much interest from leading private companies. Now, we have to control the number of attendees because we don’t have enough space,” said Nguon Meng Tech, adding that between 400 to 500 leading companies from the region and the globe will participate.

“We will promote them in all potential sectors – mostly agricultural and tourism. For example, we export thousands of tonnes of rubber latex every year so we want to draw out some investment for a tyre plant here,” he added.

Lun Bun Heng, president of Loran Import-Export, a rice milling company, confirmed his attendance at the summit.

“This is a very special event and will greatly benefit the private sector because we can show people what we have to offer. At the same, we can receive feedback on what we’re lacking.”  

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said at a press conference yesterday that ASEAN and the US will form a strategic partnership and will host a joint business summit in order to boost trade and investment between the two regions.

A ASEAN-US Center will also be established to facilitate the increase in tourism, trade and investment.

According to a joint statement from ASEAN economic ministers in August, ASEAN’s merchandise trade grew by 16.8 per cent from US$2.05 trillion in 2010 to $2.39 trillion in 2011 despite the slowdown in global trade.

Intra-ASEAN trade remained strong at $598 billion. The statement noted that Japan was the top export destination, followed by China, the European Union and the United States.

Service import and export grew by about 10 per cent in 2011. Travel, transportation, other business and financial services continue to be the top services exported within the sector.

ASEAN maintained its position as one of the most attractive destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI), which reached $98.2 billion in 2011.

The European Union remained the top source of FDI to ASEAN, accounting for approximately 25 per cent of total inward FDI to ASEAN.  Japan and the United States were the second and third largest sources of FDI, altogether accounting for 22.5 per cent.

Intra-ASEAN investment grew by 23 per cent in 2011, reaching $17.5 billion, or accounted for 19.7 per cent of total inward FDI into ASEAN, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at
With assitance from Cheang Sokha



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