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All Eyes on Japanese to Boost Economy

By: The Mekong Times Posted: February-13-2008 in
The Mekong Times

Cambodia is expected to see a possible three fold increase in investment growth this year, largely due to the arrival of Japanese investors en masse, said Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh. "I believe that investment in 2008 will increase two times to three times because of Japanese investors," he said following a High Level Conference on Trade-Related Capacity Development in Selected East Asian Countries in Phnom Penh yesterday.

The conference was organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Independent economic analyst Sok Syna said that, if there was an influx of Japanese investors, Cambodia would be able to experience real investment growth as Japan is an advanced and reliable industrialized country, and thus would have the potential to lead to developments similar to those of Cambodia's neighbors. Cham Pradsidh said that for many years the government has tried to create a good climate for investors, and although Japanese investors have previously neglected Cambodia, Japan has now begun a turnaround. "We hope there will be about 50 Japanese firms investing in Cambodia's special economic zones, particularly in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville," Cham Prasidh said.

In 2007, Cambodia received foreign investment of approximately US$2.8 billion, according to a Ministry of Commerce report. At present Japan ranks ninth among the countries investing in Cambodia, with a total investment of about US$80 million. Most of this is in hotels, tourism, and motorcycle assembly plants. China and South Korea rank first and second respectively. Cham Prasidh said that Japanese investors are always prudent before committing funds, but if they invest here, this will attract other investors. "The first wave of Japanese investors has already started in Cambodia," he said. SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said by phone on Tuesday that he did not believe there will be an increase in investment in Cambodia due to the country's excessive bureaucracy, high electricity prices and poor infrastructure. "I have a different understanding to Cham Prasidh," said Yim Sovann. "An increase in investment has only occurred in Cambodia's neighboring countries, but nothing has changed here because we have not seen any important Japanese companies come to Cambodia."

This article first appeared in The Mekong Times
The Mekong Times is a daily newspaper distributed in Cambodia.
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