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‘New normal’ recovery map afoot

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Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the 26th International Conference on ‘The Future of Asia’ on Thursday via video link. SPM

‘New normal’ recovery map afoot

Cambodia is designing policy for 2021-2023 to chart a path for sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, with an approach that ensures peace, security, social stability and public order on the path to the “new normal”, enhances competitiveness and promotes economic diversification to increase regional and global goods export capacity, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Speaking at the 26th International Conference on The Future of Asia on May 20, Hun Sen affirmed that Cambodia is committed to turning the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity for in-depth reforms aimed at building a stronger socio-economic system that is resilient to future crises.

He said Cambodia is preparing “three main foundations” to drive the Kingdom’s economic revival in the post-Covid recovery phases – rebuilding a strong, security-centred foundation for the economy to return to the path of growth; impact management, balancing and promotion to restore businesses to their former potential, especially in the most affected areas; and creating more jobs faster.

Additional key reform measures will be introduced that, inter alia, refurbish the existing apparatus; eases conditions and improves the overall environment for trade, investment and business; and promote and nurture digitalisation in the public and private sectors, he said.

The government will also work towards building resilience by reinforcing preparedness and responses to future diseases or similar situations that may occur down the line, with a focus on drawing up a strong, effective health and social protection system that ensures sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development and rehabilitation, he added.

While the global economy is expected to recover in 2021, the world still faces high degrees of uncertainty due to fresh coronavirus waves and newly-detected variants – reportedly more transmissible and potentially deadlier – which will continue to disrupt the global economy, the prime minister said.

This year’s edition of The Future of Asia was hosted virtually by Japan’s Nikkei Inc under the theme “Preparing for a New Era after the Covid-19 crisis: Asia’s role in restoring the world”.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on May 23 that the Covid-19 crisis has taught the Kingdom a variety of tough lessons along the way, rendering it more conscious of its flexible-but-strong adaptation strategy in the new economic context.

The government’s establishment of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with China and the revision of investment laws and export-import procedures will play an important role and be a source of strength for the Cambodian economy in the future, he said.

“In fact, I see that Cambodia is on the right track towards diversifying domestic production and exporting more diversified goods to international markets, as the attractiveness and favourable conditions of Cambodia have become even better for investors,” Heng said.

He added that after Covid-19, the Kingdom is expected to gain a growing number of direct investors.

After signing an FTA with China in October, Cambodia plans to sign a similar deal with South Korea by the end of this year, after negotiations on the terms of the agreement came to a close in early February.

Late last month, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecast that Cambodia’s economy would grow by 4.0 per cent in 2021 and 5.5 per cent in 2022, buoyed by the recovery of key trading partners and heightened demand for Cambodian goods.

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