Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) speaks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) during their meeting in New Delhi earlier this month. Photograph: Reuters
Cambodia expects to attract more investment from India after an agreement on trade and investment was made by all ASEAN leaders last week in New Delhi. Officials said India would become a potential market for Cambodia.
The agreement will encourage Indian investors to invest in ASEAN countries as their new frontier market.
Prime Minister Hun Sen had requested Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to enhance trade and investment within the bloc to build strong co-operation between ASEAN and India, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Hor Namhong told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport on Friday after returning from the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue partnership with Hun Sen.
“The leaders welcome the agreement of investment and trade between ASEAN and India,” he said.
“Actually, negotiations on the agreement have been going for long time, but now we have achieved it.
“The agreement is very important for us. In the future, India will inject more capital investment in ASEAN."
Hor Namhong said two giant Indian companies had already told Hun Sen they would invest millions of dollars in Cambodia.
Chan Nora, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce, said India would be a potential market for Cambodia in the near future.
“I think we have a lot of attractive sectors for their investors. But the main sectors India will look at are food processing and agriculture. India will be our potential market in the future because they have a huge demand there.”
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and India in 2010-2011 was only US$72 million.
The value of Indian exports to Cambodia reached $64 million, while Cambodia’s exports to India totalled only $8 million, the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia says.
Data from the Council for Development of Cambodia shows approved investment from India was more than $3 million over the first seven months of this year. Most of the investments are in the agricultural sector.
The Bank of India started operations in Cambodia in May 2009.
The Federation of Associations of Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia this month signed a memorandum of understanding with the Confederation of Indian Industries to strengthen co-operation on human-resources training and quality control in Cambodia.
Hor Namhong said that by the end of 2011, trade between ASEAN and India had reached $79 billion and ASEAN-India aimed to reach $100 billion and $200 billion in 2015 and 2022 respectively.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at firstname.lastname@example.org