The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has announced that the Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement reflects the Kingdom’s dedicated efforts as a co-founding member to support the objectives of World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries.

Suon Sophal, deputy secretary-general of the CDC’s Cambodian Investment Board (CIB), and Minister of Commerce Cham Nimul participated in the ministerial conference to finalise the agreement, being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 26-29, as reported in a February 25 statement from the CDC.

During the programme, organised to announce the completion of the agreement’s draft and to discuss its potential inclusion in the annex to the WTO agreement, Nimule expressed Cambodia’s commitment. 

“This important agreement, stemming from Cambodia’s ambitious role as a founding member, is intended to enhance the international investment environment. It aligns with the spirit of Cambodia’s domestic investment law,” Nimul was quoted as saying.

The agreement also aims to provide consistent investment facilitation of high quality, further streamlining public service procedures for investors and steadfastly supporting the multilateral investment and trade systems in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations, as per the CDC’s statement.

Hong Vanak, an economist at the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, emphasised the agreement’s importance for the country. 

He noted that the WTO requires all member countries, including Cambodia, to facilitate investment procedures in line with its principles. 

“Actually, Cambodia has been prepared since it first became a member. However, implementation was deferred until now. This indicates that Cambodia has made significant efforts, given the comprehensive nature of this WTO agreement, and has managed to meet most of [its] conditions,” he stated.

Vanak added that the agreement is expected to further enhance the investment environment, noting that the commerce ministry and CDC are actively working to fulfil the principles and conditions necessary to attract international investment.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), highlighted the agreement’s utility, noting its alignment with the country’s existing investment law, which greatly aids in attracting foreign investors. 

He mentioned that the chamber is playing an active role in the programme, sending a representative to the UAE. 

Heng said the five-day visit is a key part of the collaboration in organising the 3rd Cambodia-UAE Business and Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi.

He added that the meeting was jointly organised by the commerce ministry and the UAE’s foreign ministry, in collaboration with the CCC and the UAE Chamber of Commerce. 

“The CCC’s visit aims to bolster ties between Cambodia and the UAE and promote the private sectors of both nations. During the visit, our working group is showcasing sectors like agriculture, industry and manufacturing, finance and banking, real estate and tourism to the UAE [chamber],” he stated.