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Japanese interest growing

A delegation led by the Japan Business Federation, the biggest economic association in that country, visited Cambodia last weekend to explore business opportunities in the Kingdom.

Masafumi Kuroki, Japan’s ambassador to Cambodia, said the delegation, the largest such group from Japan to visit the Kingdom, was solid evidence of increasing Japanese interest here.

“They are all decision-makers from various big companies in Japan,” Kuroki told the Post. “So it’s great that Cambodia can attract their attention.”

The 140 companies represented in the delegation included global businesses such as Toyota Motor Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Sumitomo Chemical, Hitachi, energy giant JX Holdings, Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ bank, financial group Sumitomo Mitsui and All Nippon Airways.

“We would like to strengthen co-operation with Cambodia in the areas of infrastructure development as well as the improvement of the business environment,” Japan Business Federation chairman Yonekura Hiromasa said.

“By doing so, Japan will be growing together with Cambodia.”

During their two days in Cambodia, the delegates met Prime Minister Hun Sen, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh, Japanese business leaders who are already investing in Cambodia and many other significant Cambodian government bodies.

Warmly welcoming the potential investors, Prasidh highlighted Cambodia’s comparative advantages, including political and macro-economic stability, a large, low-cost labour force and free access to major markets.

“Cambodia is one of the less developed countries in the world, which is a great advantage for export-based companies to come here and export their products to many destinations, duty- and quota-free,” he told delegates.

Yoshiko Yamanaka, project adviser for economic infrastructure development at the Japanese development agency JICA, told the Post Japanese investors were shifting their operations from traditional sites such as China to other Asian countries.

To attract more Japanese companies, it might be necessary for Cambodia to define its comparative advantages and use incentives such as policy tools to  improve the investment climate, she said.
“In this regard, Japanese companies may decide to locate their operations in Cambodia.”

In Channy,  president of Cambodia’s largest bank, ACLEDA, attended a lunch meeting with the business delegation.

Learning directly about investment advantages was an effective way for investors to observe the reality of Cambodia’s business potential, Channy said.

“We’ve already shown a success story to many companies who decided to grow here. I hope they [the business delegation] will learn from that and follow the early comers.”

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