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Swiss sign commercial safeguard


WISS President Jean Pascal Delamuraz on Oct 12 signed an accord that will safeguard

his country's companies in Cambodia and pave the way for additional investors such

as Swiss Air.

The agreement signed by the President and Council for the Development of Cambodia

Secretary General Chanthol Sun, will protect Swiss companies against possible future

nationalization of industry and allow free transfer of profits, Delamuraz said.

"Trade is better than aid," said Delamuraz, who was on a state visit.

"We must prepare for this period of Cambodia tomorrow - through increased commercial

relations, the export and import of goods and services."

Specific investments may include Swiss Air service to Phnom Penh and the construction

of hotels, Cambodian officials said.

Blaise Godet, Bangkok-based ambassador to Cambodia, said his country will ask Cambodia

to accredit one of the Kingdom's European diplomats to Switzerland to further strengthen

ties and encourage furture investment.

Four Swiss companies have operations in Cambodia, Societé Generale de Surveillance

(SGS), a pre-shipment inspection company, Holderbank Group, which operates a cement

factory, Diethelm Travel and Nestlé, which has a representative office here.

At least two of them have had difficulties here, Delamuraz acknowledged, noting that

SGS and Holderbank were discussed in meetings with co-Premiers Prince Norodom Ranariddh

and Hun Sen.

SGS signed a contract to handle pre-shipment inspections of imports for the Cambodian

government in September 1995, but soon found its profits undercut by exemptions on

some imports.

"It is the will of the two prime ministers to enjoy the services of SGS,"

said Delamuraz, noting that the problems "are in the process of being resolved".

The Holderbank Group's problems revolve around a lease it signed with the government

in May to upgrade a provincial cement factory. A Chinese State-owned company has

said its lease agreement on the plant was unfairly taken away.

Delamuraz, who arrived to a Royal welcome from King Norodom Sihanouk in his first

public appearance in months, attended a state dinner with the King that night.



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