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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM calls for South Koreans to increase investment

PM calls for South Koreans to increase investment

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090602_13.jpg

Hun Sen encourages influx of South Korean capital during ASEAN-Korea

meeting on Jeju island, pushing for investors in all major economic sectors

Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses the ASEAN-Korea CEO Summit Sunday in Seogwipo on South Korea’s Jeju Island where he called on South Korean investors to increase investment in the Kingdom. AFP

SKOrea to double FUNDING to ASEAN
SOUTH Korea said it plans to double its development-assistance funding to ASEAN to US$400 million by 2015, President Lee Myung-bak told leaders of the 10 countries Monday. South Korea is trying to build ties and trade with ASEAN countries to help avoid a recession. Lee said Sunday that South Korea and ASEAN will seek to bolster annual trade to $150 billion by 2015 from $90 billion last year. South Korea will also increase its ASEAN cooperative fund for cultural and personnel exchanges to $5 million from $3 million by 2010, Lee said in a speech at the opening ceremony of a two-day ASEAN summit on Jeju island, South Korea. BLOOMBERG

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has appealed to Korean investors and ASEAN members to invest in natural resources, tourism and agriculture in Cambodia at a high-level summit in South Korea.

"I want to encourage Koreans to invest in Cambodia - especially in agriculture, tourism, oil and gas," the premier said Sunday evening at the ASEAN-Korea CEO Forum in Seogwipo on South Korea's Jeju island.  

Hun Sen said Cambodia hoped to cooperate with ASEAN and South Korea in other sectors such as bio-mass and bio-gas, renewable energy and hydropower.

"I hope to see investment capital flow from [South] Korea to Cambodia ... for investment in property, banking and finance," said Hun Sen.

South Korea has been one of Cambodia's largest investors recently, particularly in construction. South Korea invested US$472.89 million last year, according to figures released by the country's embassy in Phnom Penh. That was down on an all-time high of $629.5 million in 2007. There are 475 South Korean companies registered in Cambodia, 173 of which were new last year.

Hun Sen said the government views agriculture as a key sector for the national economy that has protected the Kingdom from the full impact of the global economic crisis.

I hope to see investment capital flow from [South] Korea to Cambodia.

He added that the government has provided land to the private sector for large-scale agricultural projects to create rural employment. The private sector is encouraging Korean investment in agro-industry and food processing for export, rather than just the farming sector, according to Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC).

"It is good if Koreans come here to build processing capacity for domestic trade and export - we are still very weak in terms of processing capacity," he said.

He expressed concern over land disputes because of the confusion created over demarcation of state and private land. "It will help farmers if we can be sure that land concession won't come from grabbing farmers' land," said Yang Saing Koma.

But Ho Vandy, co-chairman of the Government-Private Sector Working Group, said Koreans have not yet expressed interest in tourism projects such as resorts or islands.

"I think to profit from tourism, it needs 10 to 20 years, and Cambodian investors should quickly take this opportunity," he said.

South Korea is a major source of tourism for Cambodia with 266,525 arrivals in 2008, or 12.5 percent of total foreign visitor numbers.

Cambodia was due to sign an Memorandum of Understanding with South Korea on mineral exploration in the Kingdom during the summit. 

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