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India to set up Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia

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A man sells medicine at a pharmacy in Phnom Penh. Indian exports have been dominated by pharmaceuticals, yarn and leather. Cambodian exports are mostly primary products. pOST PIX

India to set up Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia

India plans to set up the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) within a ministry in Cambodia to serve as an investment and business information centre. The purpose is to support businessmen and investors of India and the Kingdom.

Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Mao Thora told The Post that he just had a meeting with his Indian counterpart on the plan as the Indian government wants to promote more trade, investment and tourism.

“They want to set up the ICC with us, but it is just at the early stages of discussions as they would be talking to other 10 ministries about their plan.

“Then, each ministry will submit the report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see which ministry will help them set up the chamber of commerce.

“After we agree with all the terms and requirements, we will draft and sign a memorandum of understanding on what we can cooperate on in terms of trade, tourism and investment. At the same time, we can also see what kinds of goods we can buy from India,” he said.

However, Thora said the setting-up of the ICC will take some time as it requires further discussions.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that he supports such an initiative.

He said having the ICC, which represents the private sector, would make it convenient to directly communicate with the CCC over any concerns or to explore opportunities for businessmen and investors from both countries.

“I support it because India has one of the largest economies in the region and the world. We can seize a lot of investment opportunities and trade expansion in the market. Also, we can attract more tourists to visit us,” he said.

According to the Indian Embassy in Phnom Penh, India-Cambodia trade has been growing steadily in the last few years.

In 2016, the total trade between India and Cambodia fell to $153.15 million, which was a year-on-year decrease of 18.55 per cent compared to total trade in 2015, which was valued at $188.03 million.

Exports from India were $110.02 million (a decrease of 24.47 per cent from 2015) and the imports from Cambodia were $43.13 million (an increase of 1.82 per cent).

In 2016, the overall trade showed a decline.

Indian exports have been dominated by pharmaceuticals, yarn, leather and some engineering items. Cambodian exports are mostly primary products.

In 2017, there was a 10 per cent overall growth, whereas in 2018 there was growth of about 35 per cent.

The increase in Indian exports in 2017 and 2018 was largely derived from exports of motor vehicles, drug formulation, biological products, fabrics, finished leather etc.

“Business engagement between traders and investors of both countries has increased in the past few years and we expect more trade growth in years to come,” said the embassy.

In 2016, India invested $19.8 million in Cambodia. However, for the last two years, there are no official statistics on the volume of Indian foreign direct investment in Cambodia.

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