Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US investment poised to increase

US investment poised to increase

US investment poised to increase

110309_7b
Lawrence Spinelli, director of public affairs at Overseas Private Investment Corporation, speaks to reporters this week.

Cambodia is poised to see an increase in United States investment as the world financial crisis recedes, according to Overseas Private Investment Corporation director of public affairs Lawrence Spinelli.

The world’s economic downturn had hit the Kingdom particularly hard, while restricting access to credit for American firms planning to expand abroad, he said on Monday.

“We were starting to see an increase of potential US investors when the crisis hit. Some took their plans and their ideas and sort of kept them on the shelf for the moment,” he said.

“With the global economic recession diminishing, I think more and more businesses are looking for expansion, and I think there are great opportunities here in Cambodia."

Spinelli is touring Southeast Asia in advance of a May conference in Jakarta aimed at promoting the OPIC to potential investors, both American and international.

OPIC – which is a United States government agency - provides longer-term financing for American investors locating in emerging markets, particularly when the projects cannot receive financing through traditional lenders such as the banks.  

It also provides long-term risk insurance.

OPIC claims to have a current portfolio totalling US$13 billion. It can operate in 155 countries worldwide with exceptions such as developed countries and North Korea, Cuba and China - from which Congress had barred it from operating to voice its displeasure with the handling of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

The US has been increasingly targeting Asia since the election of Barack Obama as US President, he said, adding that in the prior four to eight years “I don’t think Asia was regarded as much of a priority for the US government”.

OPIC currently does not yet  finance an investment in Cambodia, but is in talks with several US companies regarding ventures in the Kingdom’s tourism, infrastructure, energy, and financial services sector, he claimed, but declined to provide a timeline.

Spinelli said OPIC is required to follow stringent regulations government concerns such as environment, labour law, and the extraction industry, but downplayed concerns following these rules gave US business a disadvantage compared with other economies.

“In the longer term, I don’t think it does put us at a competitive disadvantage, because it is the right thing to do,” he said.

Spinelli met with officials from the government and the American Chamber of Commerce during his Phnom Penh visit, partly to introduce the OPIC and encourage attendance at the conference.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio