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Chinese firm hopes to advise construction ministry

Chinese firm hopes to advise construction ministry

A delegation from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction plans to visit Shanghai on the invitation of a major Chinese construction firm to discuss possibilities for cooperation over Cambodia's urban development program.

Im Chamrong, director general of the ministry's construction department, said the visit was part of ongoing discussions on cooperation with Shanghai Construction Group, which has offered to assist the ministry in matters of planning and quality control.

"We are designing a draft MoU [memorandum of understanding] on cooperation that we hope to sign with the vastly experienced construction company," he said.

Phoeung Sophoan, secretary of state for the ministry, is understood to be leading the delegation, but no date has been set for the visit. He was in meetings Tuesday and was not available for comment.

Big player

Shanghai Construction Group, one of the leading developers in China, has played a leading role in the development of Shanghai and had much to offer the ministry in terms of experience in architecture, urban planning and construction, Im Chamrong said.

"There are many construction projects in Cambodia now, but we have no national standards and our experience is limited," he said. "They have higher quality in terms of design, planning, execution and management."

The terms of the deal had not been finalised, but the ministry would maintain control over the monitoring of construction activity in Cambodia, Im Chamrong said.

However, the firm's input would be sought into a planned law to regulate construction quality of tall buildings, he said.

The construction group's major projects in Shanghai included Pudong International Airport and the Zhonghuanxian Expressway,. It also began construction in May on a US$292 million gymnasium  for the city called the "water cube".

The company already has a presence in Cambodia. It built the 186-kilometre National Road 7, which links northeastern Cambodia to Laos, and is now building the Prek Tamak Bridge over the Mekong River. The 1,060-metre bridge is expected to cost $43.5 million and be completed in 2011.  

The company's Shanghai-listed unit, Shanghai Construction Co, recorded operating revenues of $4.47 billion in 2008, up 21.24 percent year-on-year. Qien Hei, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Cambodia, said the Chinese government was not involved in the arrangement.

Shanghai Construction Group could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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