Cambodia

Cambodia Boosting Efforts To Attract US Investors

Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh speaks during the 17th GMS Ministerial Conference at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, file photo.Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh speaks during the 17th GMS Ministerial Conference at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, file photo.
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Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh speaks during the 17th GMS Ministerial Conference at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, file photo.
Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh speaks during the 17th GMS Ministerial Conference at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, file photo.
VOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Cambodia is ramping up efforts to attract US investment, especially because it benefits from trade preferences due to its status as a least-developed country, Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh says.

“We have an open and liberal economy,” the minister told VOA Khmer in an interview in Washington, where he was working to find more US investors to consider Cambodia.

Cambodian products can be imported duty free to a number of markets, including Europe and Canada, the minister said. And it can be a gateway to the markets of Southeast Asia, which has 600 million people, he said.

“This is a very integrated region where you would see free flow of goods, free flow of services, free flow of skilled personnel, free flow of investment, and free flow of capital,” Cham Prasidh said. “So it means that Asean would be a little bit like the European Union, except that we are not imitating everything from the European Union. And we’re united in diversity. This is something that is very important.”

Investment in agriculture could be especially appealing to US companies, Cham Prasidh said. Cambodia wants to boost its trade volume and exchange, he said. “And we have to use all the facilities that are offered.”

But critics say many investors from the West are put off by the high costs associated with graft in Cambodia, which is among the world’s 20 most corrupt countries, according to the US-based Transparency International.

Business Council Sees More Opportunities in Asia 'Pivot'i
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11 December 2012
As the United States intensifies its focus in Asia, the US-Asean Business council continues to seek ways to bring investment to the region, including Cambodia. The council, represents around 100 companies, including Coca-Cola and Chevron, recently celebrated ASEAN’s 45th anniversary, inviting Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh to give the keynote address. VOA Khmer's Poch Reasey and Men Kimseng discuss the importance of US investment in Asean and Cambodia.

That translates into greater costs for doing business, from licenses and other expenses in setting up a business, running it, and transporting and shipping goods. And that companies might look elsewhere.
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On Thursday a memorial was unveiled in Phnom Penh to the thousands of men, women and children who were brought to Cambodia's notorious S-21 prison between 1975 and 1979, where they were tortured and then executed by Pol Pot's murderous regime. Although many have welcomed the memorial, one aspect of it has proven controversial. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

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