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High prospects for Singapore FDI

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Workers install rebar at a construction site on Hun Sen Boulevard southern Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on March 10. Infrastructure is one of the top areas of Singaporean investment. Heng Chivoan

High prospects for Singapore FDI

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) on July 26 said it approved 127 Singapore-owned investment projects worth $1.53 billion as of June 30, since it was established in 1994.

The CDC, the government’s highest decision-making body for large-scale investments, revealed this in a press release issued in conjunction with a webinar on “Discovering Cambodia – Insight into the Business Opportunities in Cambodia” held on the same day, organised by the Singapore Business Federation and the Council for the Development of Cambodia.

The release listed tourism, manufacturing and infrastructure as top areas of Singaporean investment.

CDC secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea said in the release: “Cambodia’s enabling investment environment has been a cornerstone awaiting Singapore investments to tap [into] the vast potential in Cambodia’s agri-food industries, services and other manufacturing sectors.”

To that end, Chenda Sophea underscored the importance of the gains the Kingdom has made in political stability, as well as the Law on Investment adopted in October, which he said incentivises responsible business conduct and inclusive approaches in business operations.

He called for more quality Singaporean investment that would help spur economic recovery and development in the Kingdom, stressing the value of inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) from the ASEAN city-state.

Singaporean ambassador to Cambodia Teo Lay Cheng said: “Singapore is amongst Cambodia’s top five foreign investors. Investments span sectors such as real estate, energy, trading, and distribution, food and consumer, education and finance.

“Cambodia was one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. As the country emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic following a successful Covid-19 vaccination campaign, a return to earlier high levels of growth is anticipated,” the release quoted her as saying.

Speaking to The Post on July 27, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng posited that increased cooperation with Singapore, as a major international trade and transit hub, would boost the Kingdom’s exports to more markets.

“Singaporean investors are making significant contributions to Cambodia’s production chain, both for domestic supply and exports,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Tourism secretary of state Tith Chantha and Singaporean Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong at a bilateral meeting on July 26 said the two countries are keen to increase the number of commercial flights between them, in a bid to encourage more travel to Cambodia, especially on the occasion of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which the Kingdom is set to host in May next year, according to a statement from the tourism ministry.

Chantha propounded that Singapore, as a global air hub, would be an important source market for arrivals to the Kingdom, the statement said.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Singapore fell by 38.230 per cent to $2.079085 billion in the first half of 2022 from $3.365840 billion a year ago, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise.

Exports to Singapore contracted 30.8 per cent year-on-year to $62.387 million from $90.109 million, while imports shrunk 38.435 per cent to $2.016698 billion from $3.275730 billion. Meanwhile, Cambodia’s trade deficit with Singapore for the January-June period stood at $1.95431 billion, narrowing by 38.652 per cent on a yearly basis from $3.18562 billion.

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