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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Commerce Minister encourages investment

Commerce Minister encourages investment

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The Huang Clan rises for Cambodia's national anthem with Cambodia's Minister for Commerce and Huang Clan member Cham Prasidh standing in the middle yesterday afternoon at the Koh Pich Theatre. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh played a key role in welcoming the global Huang Clan to Diamond Island yesterday afternoon with a presentation on Cambodia’s investment climate.

As the first introduced speaker yesterday afternoon, the Commerce Minister said Cambodia’s political stability and sound legal framework created a safe investment climate.

He used the occasion to pay his respects to King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who died October 15.

“He has been a great king,” Cham Prasidh said.

The Commerce Minister made the point that Prime Minister Hun Sen was the longest-serving prime minister in Cambodian history.

“The longer we stay in power, we are increasing in popularity,” he said, predicting a solid win for the CPP in the 2013 elections.

“When we stay long in power we are able to implement our vision for Cambodia.”

Cham Prasidh said in his own case, he had served as Commerce Minister for the last 18 years and had seen 11 of his counterparts in Thailand come and go, and many also from Japan.

He said Cambodia’s 7 per cent growth rate was higher than the average ASEAN growth, with a consistently growing GDP each year.

He described the Government-Private Sector Forum as a means of the Cambodian government not only working with, but being influenced by the private sector.

“Through the Government Private Sector Forum we are able to find solutions to the problems we have. We develop policies with the private sector. Not only do we guide them, but we are also guided by them.”

He cited Cambodia’s ascension into the World Trade Organization as a tremendous advantage to investors.

“Whoever comes to do business in Cambodia is protected by international rules,” he said.

The Commerce Minister said the European Union had given Cambodia special treatment under the “Everything but Arms” (EBA) rules, another distinct advantage for the local investment Climate.

He said the ASEAN economic community (AEC), scheduled to become integrated by the end of 2015, was likely to extend with additional free trade agreements with other surrounding countries including China, India, Japan, Korea and Australia.

“There are more East Asia free trade agreements coming,” he said. “The wealth of this grouping is bigger than the EU and the US.”

Cham Prasidh told the Huang Clan members that the present moment was ideal for investment.

“Now is the right time to explore investment opportunities in Cambodia,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Alan Becker at stuart.becker@gmail.com

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