Direct investors from Indonesia have been ignoring Cambodia despite trade and tourism between the two countries growing annually, the Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia Sudirman Haseng said.
Indonesian news agency Antara recently reported that Ambassador Haseng said the main reason that Indonesian entrepreneurs have not been doing business in Cambodia is due to a negative perception of the country, which is partly influenced by inaccurate and outdated information.
Haseng has encouraged Indonesian businessmen and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to start doing business and investing in the Kingdom, saying that it has experienced rapid economic growth at an average of seven per cent per annum which is higher than Indonesia’s economic growth.
“Indonesian businessmen have to play a role and invest in infrastructure development projects for public facilities, telecommunications, and gas pipelines within Cambodia."
“Indonesian companies and SOEs need to explore minerals here, as there is still a lot of space, for instance, in gold and oil which has not been well-explored here,” Haseng was quoted as saying.
Despite the absence of direct Indonesian investment in Cambodia, trade cooperation between that country and the Kingdom has seen an annual double-digit growth from 2013 to 2017.
Apparel, rubber and footwear
Haseng said bilateral trade between Indonesia and Cambodia reached $542.23 million in 2017, an increase of some 20 per cent from 2016’s $452.19 million.
During the January-October period last year, total trade between the two countries reached $455.87 million, mostly through exports from Indonesia to Cambodia.
Indonesian imports from Cambodia included apparel, rubber and footwear while it mostly exported packaged food and beverage
products, automotive products, pharmaceuticals, batik – cloth made by applying wax to prevent dye from penetrating it – and other consumer goods.
Tourists from Indonesia visiting Cambodia have also been rising. The number of Indonesian tourists who visited Cambodia last year reached 55,753, while 8,819 Cambodian tourists visited Indonesia in the same year.
Cambodian Minister of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay agreed on Wednesday that Indonesian investment in Cambodia is very small and far less than the potential the Kingdom offers.
In contrast with other regional countries that have seen investors opening up shop in the Kingdom, Thay said there is currently no noticeable investment projects from Indonesia.
He said Cambodia realises the advantage of attracting more investment for economic growth and the Ministry of Commerce will later this month organise a business matching event for Cambodian-Indonesian businesses.
The event is expected to boost awareness among the more than 50 Indonesian investors who will arrive here, about the investment environment and potential in Cambodia.
“The more that businesses from the two nations meet, the more they will be able to identify business potentials, and we hope investment opportunities will become visible,” he said.