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JETRO visit raises Japanese investment hopes

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CDC Secretary General Sok Chenda Sophea takes photo with the delegation of Japanese External Trade on August 30. CDC

JETRO visit raises Japanese investment hopes

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) says it has greenlit a total of 148 Japanese investment project proposals planned outside of the Kingdom’s special economic zones (SEZ) as of July 31 worth about $2.85 billion since its establishment on August 5, 1994.

The government's highest decision-making body for large-scale investments previously reported that it had approved 145 such developments in the 9,858 days to July 31, 2021 with registered capital of $2.8 billion, in addition to 66 projects valued at $340 million that were planned for SEZs.

CDC secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea on August 30 discussed the investment climate in Cambodia at a working meeting with a delegation of Japanese businesspeople in fields such as food, electronics, health, logistics, banking, construction and real estate, organised by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the council noted in a statement.

Chenda Sophea touched on the benefits of the new Law on Investment promulgated on October 15, which he said facilitates, protects and incentivises investments, and “clearly demonstrates the Royal Government's readiness to promote and attract quality investment to deepen involvement in regional and global value chains through the Plus One strategy”.

The “Plus One” strategy refers to the business model of extending supply chain networks developed in one nation to nearby countries.

JETRO Phnom Penh Office chief representative Marisa Haruta was cited in the statement as saying that through this visit, the Japanese business and investment delegation wants to gain a better grasp of the general business environment in Cambodia and the trade situation between the two countries, as well as the government’s considerations for Japanese businesspeople keen to invest or do business in the Kingdom.

She spoke highly of efforts by the CDC and relevant ministries and institutions towards improving the investment environment in all manner of ways, and their overall good-heartedness and responsiveness to Japanese investors’ concerns and requests.
On the same day, the delegation also met with Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, the commerce ministry said in a separate statement.

Sorasak commented that JETRO has been a “good partner” of the ministry’s General Department of Trade Promotion and “always” works with them to promote trade and investment between Cambodia and Japan.

The new Cambodia Private Commercial Centre (CPCC) in Atsugi city of Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture will serve as a bridge and a resource for businesspeople, investors and the public to gain insight into the Cambodian legal and regulatory landscape and other topics before engaging in trade or investment, the minister said, underscoring that the centre would also exhibit and promote Cambodian products.

The CPCC was inaugurated on June 18, in a ceremony attended by Cambodian ambassador to Japan Tuy Ry, Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami, ASEAN-Japan Centre secretary-general Kunihiko Hirabayashi, Cambodia-Japan Parliamentary Alliance chairman Masahiro Imamura, and parliamentarians Taro Kono and Akira Amari.

The delegation also met with the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) on August 30, according to CCC vice-president Lim Heng.

Speaking to The Post on August 31, Heng affirmed that the delegation was scheduled to visit SEZs and several localities, including Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, Poipet and Bavet towns, to explore local investment opportunities.

“After we reached an agreement on investment and economic cooperation, our two institutions have cooperated well, especially in promoting joint investment between Cambodia and Japan. We expect that after the JETRO visit to Cambodia, we’ll get more Japanese investors,” he said.

ACLEDA Bank Plc president and group managing director In Channy disclosed that he informed an August 26 meeting with Japanese businesspeople of Cambodia’s improving road infrastructure, new airport developments, and potential in key areas, which he believes will pave the way for new investors to step in.

Channy pointed out that although Japanese investors have raised concerns over inflation, the elevated figures this year are still lower than those seen in 2008 – during a great financial recession – and kept under control by “adequate measures” taken by the government.

The commerce ministry reported that last year, Cambodian exports to Japan were worth $1.093 billion, comprising garments, footwear, bags and other items, while imports reached $607 million.

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