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Japanese firms seek business options in Cambodia

Representatives of a dozen large Japanese companies arrived in Phnom Penh on Tuesday looking for business opportunities in the kingdom.

Hidetoshi Nishimura, executive director of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, led the delegation, whose members represent firms in industries such as technology, jewellery manufacturing, infrastructure development and agriculture.  

Speaking to reporters after a meeting between the delegation and Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday at the Peace Palace, the premier’s personal adviser, Eang Sophalleth, said Nishimura had told Hun Sen the group was seeking potential opportunities.

Sophalleth added that Nishimura had said Cambodia’s political stability and security, and the government’s business-friendly policies, made the  Kingdom an attract-ive place to do business.

Hun Sen pointed out that the country was ripe for investment in areas such as agriculture, tourism, mining, oil and gas, transportation and telecommunications.

In recent years, a number of Japanese companies have invested in Cambodia, mostly in manufacturing.

Last month, Tokyo-based auto supplier Yazaki invested $24 million in an electronic parts plant in the Koh Kong Special Economic Zone.

In September, AEON committed $200 million to build a four-storey shopping mall in Phnom Penh.

The delegation’s visit coincides with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit this week to three fellow ASEAN countries – Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia – his first foreign trip of his second term as premier.

Peter Brimble, deputy country director of the Asian Development Bank, says the flow of Japanese investment is helping to diversify Cambodia’s exports, which now rely mostly on the agricultural and garment sectors.

“Last year, we saw a type of diversification happening: we saw Japanese investment coming in  like crazy. They build one factory, they finish it, they get it up and running, then they start building the next one in the Phnom Penh special economic zone, in Koh Kong, or wherever.

“I think this will have a significant impact on exports and the economy in 2013.”

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at kunmakara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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