Cambodia calls for more Indian investments

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, December 8: | Updated: Dec 9 2007, 01:27am hrs
Cambodia has invited Indian investments in manufacturing, services, infrastructure and human resources development and said it would export to India some agricultural products in which it is competitive.

Speaking at an interaction with the Indian industry in Delhi on Saturday jointly hosted by the apex bodies, FICCI, Assocham and CII, the Cambodian prime minister, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Pai Techo Hun Sen said : we are strongly determined to attract as much as possible foreign direct investment (FDIs), including that from India.

He said under the new policy private investors investing in infrastructure development have the option to build-operate-transfer (BOT) and Build-operate-own (BOO). Foreign investors can do business with or without Cambodian partners. In case of local partnership the level of equity, would be decided by the foreign investor.

On the issue of the ownership of the land, Sen clarified that the right has been reserved for Cambodian citizens, the foreigners can use land through lease contracts for a period up to 99 years.

The Cambodian Prime Minister called for attracting investments in agro-business, manufacturing, services, tourism, human resources development, hardware and software, roads, bridges, seaports, airports, railways, power, clean water supply, irrigation, development and transfer of knowledge and technology, telecommunications, information technology.

He said, Cambodia has comparative advantages and potentials in agriculture and agro-industry, labour-intensive industries, processing, tourism, mining and in some sections of manufacturing and services sectorsAt the same time promising future from commercialization of oil, gas and other mineral resources has opened up new economic opportunities and hope for Cambodia to become a new development zone in the region.

At present India-Cambodia bilateral trade is less than $ 50 million, with balance tilted in favour of India. Cambodian exports to India are negligible. Cambodia is a member of the ASEAN group, with which India is planning to sign a free trade agreement. The Cambodian Prime Minister praised spirit of cooperation expressed by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 6th ASEAN-India Summit in Singapore on November 21, 2007.

I am hopeful that India will positively consider our request to provide assistance in IT, where it is known for its expertise, Cambodian Prime Minister said.

The Indian minister of state for communications and IT, Shakeel Ahmed said that cooperation between the two countries in human resources development and IT was necessary due to the presence of skilled manpower in both the countries. He said that India had launched a plan to ensure 100000 broadband connectivity in its rural areas.

Since the restoration of internal peace in 1999, Cambodian economy had gained momentum and dynamism by growing at an average rate of 9.4% per annum in 2000-06. Economic growth peaked at 13.5% in 2005 and in 2006 it was 10.8%. In 2007 the growth is expected around 9.5%.

Cambodias average per capita income almost doubled from $ 288 in 2000 to $ 513 in 2006, while its price inflation rate was low at an average of under 3% and the currency exchange rate was broadly stable. Cambodias foreign exchange reserves increased threefold from about $ 500 million in 2000 to more than $ 1.5 billion as of date.

The Cambodian Prime Minister assured the Indian investors that judicial system has been strengthened and legal framework and institutions have been developed to protect the interests of investors.