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UAE investors interested in Kingdom

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Farmers use a harvesting machine for their rice field in Battambong Province. Heng Chivoan

UAE investors interested in Kingdom

UAE-based Mohammad Omar Bin Haider Holding Group PSC (MOBH) has shown interest in investing in the Kingdom’s main sectors. Cambodia should seek new investment partners as the Kingdom is facing market problems due to a change in its export policies to the EU, say insiders.

During a meeting last week with Cambodian Minister of Commerce, Abdo Ali Kayali, director-general of Management and International Relations at MOBH said his company was keen on investing in several sectors such as real estate, agriculture, garments, tourism and hospitality.

He said his company currently operates a garment factory in Bangladesh, and wants to expand further production in Cambodia due to the Kingdom having a good business environment with many favourable conditions.

In the agricultural sector, the company intends to invest in growing paddy rice and milling rice to export to the Middle East.

Kayali said the company will also study investment opportunities in the Kingdom’s hotel sector.

Good example

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak welcomed the investment plan. He said Cambodia’s garment sector is a good example for countries in the world and the Kingdom strictly adheres to International Labour Organization standards through the implementation of the Better Factories Cambodia programme.

The minister encouraged the company to continue consulting with private companies as well as the Cambodia Rice Federation, to reach a partnership to promote the sector’s development through the construction of rice mills, warehouses and other modern facilities.

MOBH has about 60 subsidiaries and is operating in five countries worldwide.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said the show of interest from investors from Arab nations is a good thing for the Kingdom, as there are currently very few UAE companies investing.

He said the UAE could be a potential market for Cambodian agricultural products and that there are currently companies in the Kingdom planting bananas for export to the country.

“When more investors come to Cambodia, even as tourists, they will all show positive sign for the Cambodian economy,” he said.

Late last year, the UAE’s royal family visited the Kingdom to boost relations. During the visit planning for a Halal food plant was also discussed for exports to the UAE.

Emerging Markets Consulting senior adviser Ngeth Chou said it would be beneficial to Cambodia if it could receive new investments from Arab countries as the Kingdom is currently facing changes in export policies to the EU.

“This is a good start, although it will need to go through many stages of study,” he said.

Chou added that because most current foreign investment in Cambodia comes from China, receiving investments from other countries will avert risks if China has economic problems or Sino-Cambodian relations sour.

“If we have a different source [of investment] other than China, it is also a good thing that it can reduce risks related to economic growth,” he said.

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