The government is planning to revise the Kingdom’s investment laws this year to draw more foreign direct investment as the country adjusts to the fast-changing regional and global landscapes, according to Secretary General of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) Sok Chenda Sophea.
Speaking at a business networking dinner prepared by the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations on Wednesday, Sok Chenda told more than 100 private-sector attendees that the investment law revision requires their participation and input in order to boost economic activities.
“We are in the wave of globalisation, and we see that the status of development internationally as changing,” Sok Chenda told the Post on the sidelines of the meeting.
“The success of the economy depends on its flexibility to meet the needs of regional and global change.”
Cambodian investment law was initially written in 1994. It was then revised in 2003, but has remained unchanged until now.
The revision is aimed at encouraging more investors to develop priority sectors to make the Kingdom more competitive.
“We may consider high-tech industries and give shape to new industries, where there are new concepts that we will explore,” said Sok Chenda. “We give priority to sectors that we believe are competitive and engaged.”
Hang Chuon Naron, secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said at the seventh Cambodia Outlook Conference last month that government priorities include increasing spending and co-ordinating national policy to better promote high-tech skills and vocational training.
“With the increase in investment in manufacturing electronics, it requires the government to make a once-off investment, maybe in a high-tech technical university or vocational training centre,” Chuon Naron said.
Yoshiko Yamanaka, economic and infrastructure development adviser at the Japanese development agency (JICA Cambodia), told the Post that many potential investors in Japan are shifting their operations from traditional sites such as China to other overseas locations, with an emphasis on ASEAN countries.
If Cambodia can provide better infrastructure, a skilled labour force, and more flexible institutions, it will be more attractive to investors, she added.
“In order to attract more and more companies to Cambodia, it might be necessary for Cambodia to objectively define its comparative advantages and to utilise several incentives such as policy tools in order to keep improving the investment climate continuously,” Yamanaka told the Post by email.