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Kingdom, E Timor plan to forge ties

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Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea at the meeting on Thursday. CDC

Kingdom, E Timor plan to forge ties

The enactment of the new investment law, along with the success of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, is creating an ever-growing pool of rewarding investment opportunities in the Kingdom, according to Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea.

He made the remark at a meeting with East Timorese foreign minister Adaljiza Magno on January 27, the second of her official four-day visit to Cambodia, the CDC said in a statement.

Chenda Sophea welcomed Magno’s visit as a step to strengthen relations and cooperation, to maximise mutual benefits for the peoples of both countries.

He briefed the foreign minister on the main points of the investment law, which was signed into effect by the King on October 15, and other important developments related to investment opportunities in the Kingdom.

He stressed that the Kingdom is internationally recognised for its success in reining in Covid, largely as a result of a free vaccination campaign and widespread adherence to a variety and combination of health measures, especially the “three protections and three don’ts” guidelines.

The “three protections” – also called the “three do’s” – are to wear a face mask, wash hands frequently, and keep a safe distance from other people (usually defined as 1.5m), and the “three don’ts” are to avoid
confined and enclosed spaces, stay away from crowded places, and refrain from touching others.

Chenda Sophea said: “By launching these effective and timely measures, Cambodia could fully reopen the country and roll out the establishment of the ‘Strategic Framework and Programmes to Rehabilitate
and Stimulate Cambodia’s Economic Growth in Living with Covid-19 in the New Normal for 2021-2023’, which was announced for implementation on December 22.”

Magno extended her appreciation and congratulations to the Cambodian government for its success in controlling the spread of Covid-19 and resuming socio-economic activities, according to the CDC statement.

She also highly commended the government on the country’s average annual economic growth rate of more than seven per cent during the two decades prior to Covid.

In this regard, East Timor aims to draw on Cambodia’s experience in economic integration into regional and global organisations and its feats of economic development, she said.

She highlighted as examples the development of special economic zones and the launch of an information technology-based business registration portal, the CDC reported.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted that East Timor is small and sparsely populated, with an export-oriented economy focusing on oil, marble and some natural resources that is dwarfed by those of mainland China, the US, India and EU countries.

On the other hand, even small-scale forms of bilateral cooperation can have a positive economic effects for both partners, he told The Post on January 30.

As an aspiring ASEAN country, East Timor must forge political and economic links with the bloc’s 10 current member states, Vanak suggested.

On January 28, Prime Minister Hun Sen held a meeting with Magno to explore new horizons of cooperation, starting in the economic sphere, with a particular focus placed on the export of Cambodian milled rice to East Timor, according to the premier’s assistant, Eang Sophalleth.

According to Sophalleth, Hun Sen encouraged Timorese businesses to invest in milling machinery, warehousing and relevant infrastructure in the Kingdom, to ramp up rice exports to their country.

The premier also urged East Timor to consider entering into a free trade deal or double taxation agreement with Cambodia.

Cambodia exported a record $320,000 worth of merchandise to East Timor in 2019, and imported $3,540, according to OEC.world.

In 2020 as Covid hit, however, the Kingdom’s exports plunged more than 97 per cent to $9,130, while imports climbed up nearly a fifth to $4,200, as indicated by the latest data from the UN International Trade Statistics Database (UNCOMTRADE) provided by online platform Trading Economics.

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