Cambodia Update: December 20, 2019

Cambodia Update | December 20, 2019
Authors: Riley Smith, Jack Myint, Aree Tomes, and Taylor Dumaine
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
January 14-16: 2020 Business Mission to the ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Cambodia’s National Assembly Approves 2020 Budget

On November 26, the National Assembly of Cambodia approved a draft budget of US$8.23 billion for the government's expenditure in fiscal year 2020, a 23 percent increase from that of 2019. The budget bill was unanimously passed by 108 of the 125 lawmakers that compose the National Assembly, all of whom hail from the ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) led by Prime Minister Hun Sen. According to a statement from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the 2020 budget composes 28.01 percent of Cambodia’s entire gross domestic product (GDP) and places emphasis on strengthening peace and stability, upgrading Cambodia’s status to upper-middle income status by 2030 and high-income status by 2050, ensuring an average annual economic growth rate of 7 percent, and creating more jobs and opportunities for the people, especially in the provincial areas.

A breakdown of the budget underscores how the Cambodian Government is prioritizing the development of human capital, transport infrastructure, clean water, and electricity. The national defense and security sector is expected to claim a budget of US$1.18 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent from 2019. The social development and economic development sectors are expected to claim US$1.94 billion and US$1.81 billion respectively. According to the draft bill, Cambodia’s economy is projected to grow by 6.5 percent in 2020, bringing GDP to US$29.4 billion, and the GDP per capita to US$1,816. The draft bill needs to be reviewed by the Senate before being submitted to King Norodom Sihamoni for final approval, all of which are expected to pass without facing any hurdles.

Transport Master Plan Expected to Be Completed in Mid-2020

On December 4, the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that the Intermodal Transport Plan 2021-2030 (the Plan) is expected to be finished in mid-2020. The Plan combines seven master plans covering intermodal, land, railway, waterway, sea, air route, and logistics to develop a complete look at how Cambodia will promote connectivity, reduce transportation and logistics costs, integrate regionally and globally, increase competitiveness, and boost sustainability through diversification. In addition to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Ministry of Environment, and Council for the Development of Cambodia have all been active in the drafting of the master plan.

The initial draft was written by the China International Engineering Consulting Corporation (CIECC), with financial assistance coming from the Chinese government. The Government of Cambodia plans to allocate US$1.4 billion for the construction and restoration of infrastructure. A Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) study found that Cambodia would need more than US$1.2 billion in infrastructure spending per year in order to continue to attract foreign investment.

Cambodia Creates Tourism Development Committee

On November 22, Prime Minister Hun Sen created the National Tourism Development Committee under the Ministry of Tourism. The committee has been tasked with boosting tourism throughout Cambodia and drafting regulations for the tourism sector. Additionally, the committee will also conduct research looking into sustainable tourism development.

The committee will be chaired by a Deputy Prime Minister with the Minister of Tourism, Minister of Public Works and Transport, Minister of Industry and Handicrafts, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, and Minister of Environment all serving as vice-chairs. The goal is to have related ministries work together with the private sector to further develop the tourism industry. A slowdown in tourism to the Angkor Archaeological Complex is one of the reasons the committee was created. One of the primary tasks of the committee will be to work in collaboration with other institutions to highlight new areas and attractions to help bolster tourism numbers.

The United States and Cambodia Look to Strengthen Bilateral Relationship

Following a downturn in official relations between the United States and Cambodian governments after the 2018 Cambodian national election, both countries are seeking ways to restore relations in various areas, including peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, demining, and POW/MIA accounting and recovery. The United States extended an offer to bolster ties with Cambodia when U.S. Ambassador Patrick Murphy sat down with Cambodian Defense Minister General Tea Banh to discuss the current condition of the relationship. During the conversation, both officials voiced their respective country’s commitment to restoring the partnership. Among topics discussed in the meeting were the United States’ concerns about issues of human rights and politics in the country, namely Cambodia’s political development.

U.S. President Donald Trump also weighed in on the condition of U.S.-Cambodia relations. In two letters from President Trump to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Trump pledged U.S. support to Cambodia’s development. In response to Hun Sen’s former accusations of U.S interference in Cambodia’s national election, President Trump reassured the Prime Minister that “the U.S. respects Cambodia’s sovereignty and does not support regime change.” Furthermore, President Trump urged the Cambodian government to prioritize getting back on the path to a democratic government, emphasizing its importance for the future of the relationship as well as to providing stability, sovereignty, and independence for Cambodia.

The future of U.S-Cambodia relations appears to be improving as Hun Sen presented the United States an opportunity for a “bond of friendship” in response to U.S. commitment. In a letter from Hun Sen, the Prime Minister thanked President Trump for assuring that the United States was not seeking regime change and showed appreciation for U.S. support in nation building and in its recent gestures to rebuild the relationship. Hun Sen officially accepted Trump’s invitation to the 2020 US-ASEAN Summit where both countries will continue to engage in conversation for how to move forward in strengthening relations.

Hun Sen Responds to E.U.’s Demands for Trade Preferences

The European Union’s (E.U.) proposed suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) trade privileges for Cambodia sparked immediate backlash from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Cambodia is a beneficiary of the EBA scheme, in which all imports to the E.U. from specified countries are duty-free and quota-free with the exception of arms and ammunition. The European Commission filed a preliminary report with the Cambodian government at the beginning of November regarding the required measures to retain EBA status. The report cited a deterioration of both democracy and respect for human rights as the basis for withdrawal. The E.U. is requesting the Cambodian government “restore democracy and the rule of law, and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms” which is referring to the dissolution of the opposition party of the Cambodia’s 2018 national election.

According to Prime Minister Hun Sen, the EBA is something Cambodia is well-prepared to lose. At a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh around the time of the launched EBA review, Prime Minister Hun Sen called the EBA suspension a destruction of E.U. achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition party. The Prime Minister warned that any EBA suspension not only affects Cambodia but also E.U. businesses, as they would be required to pay more import taxes as a result of EBA withdrawal. Additionally, Prime Minister Hun Sen made clear that he would not exchange national sovereignty with aid or any preferential scheme, and that upholding democracy and human rights could not overstep legal boundaries.

Despite Prime Minister Hun Sen’s confidence in Cambodia’s ability to withstand the effects of EBA withdrawal, this does not change the fact that Cambodia is currently the second-largest beneficiary of EBA trade privileges. The textile industry is expected to be hit the hardest as EBA termination, which would decrease competition and put the 2 million Cambodians dependent on the industry, as well as 750,000 employees at risk. The Cambodian government has already installed measures to cushion the country from the negative impacts an EBA withdrawal. These measures are intended to improve the country’s competitiveness by lowering logistical costs and reducing the number of public holidays to increase productivity. Although Cambodia is expected to miss out on growth potential, this provides the government an opportunity to implement reform that will stimulate long-term sustainable growth. The E.U.’s decision on whether to suspend EBA will be announced in February 2020, and any suspension would go into effect by August 2020.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Cambodia's China-built runway irks US but locals have other concerns

National Affairs
Trump: US does not want regime change in Kingdom
US ambassador meets with ECCC officials
Education Ministry to create more New Generation Schools
Inspection centre opens in capital
PM committed to meet Trump during Asean-US Summit
Ministry files NGO freedom report as part of EBA review
Patrick Murphy praises ministry for expanding BFC programme
Beyond the Trump-Hun Sen Letters, Where Will a US-Cambodia Thaw End Up?
In reversal, Cambodia's Hun Sen offers new 'bond of friendship'
Trump urges Cambodia to return to 'democratic path' after crackdown
Hun Sen rival faces trial even as EU threatens Cambodia sanctions
Cambodia to free more than 70 opposition activists on bail
US and Cambodia to bolster ties in various fields
U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo Urged by House Members to Act for Cambodians
Cambodia-US trade up 37 pct in first nine months

Customs
Singapore tech to increase national tax revenue
Cambodia lifts opposition leader's house arrest before EU trade decision

Defense & Security
US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties | Phnom Penh Post

Economics
Senators approve $8.23 billion national budget for next year
Cambodia looks resigned to losing EBA deal 
Financial Risks Challenge Cambodia’s Apparel Exports-Driven Economy
$3 billion in reserve ahead of possible EBA withdrawal 
National economy experiencing robust growth: WB
The EU Is In a Bind Over Trade Versus Human Rights in Cambodia
Cambodia looking towards more investments from the US

Energy
Coal-fired power plant breaks ground
Kingdom lays out the welcome mat for renewable energy investment
Germany to provide $70M to broaden road, electricity networks
In Cambodia, solar power surges
Cambodia plans to spend over US$100mil on subsidies by 2021
Cambodia struggles to keep the lights on
Australia’s ATEC raises $1.6 million to sell biodigesters in Cambodia, Bangladesh
US companies urged to invest in Cambodia
ISDN in tie-up to build Cambodia power plant
Maybank lauds Mega First’s Cambodian power project
Cambodian oil: the dream that refuses to die

Financial Services
Asean banking conference to shape strategy for industry
Banks urged to focus on digital innovation

Food & Agriculture
Minister calls for faster community registration
ADB to Help Improve Irrigation Systems of Four Provinces in Cambodia - Cambodia
Zoomlion's Strategic Cooperation with Cambodia Brings Modern Agricultural Equipment and Technologies
Japanese firm seeks investment in Kingdom’s silk production
Cambodia joins Vietnamese programme for agri cooperation
Gov’t tells farmers to plant one rice crop in dry season 
Sreylin – the face of technology in farming

Health & Life Sciences
Ministry pushes for in-house infirmaries by end of 2020
Health Ministry issues antibiotics warning
Report: 28.1% of Cambodians take out loans for healthcare

ICT
Minister: Prioritise training to realise smart city network
Ministry pushes motorists to utilise QR code licence plates
Ministry prioritising efforts to digitalise job market services
Cybersecurity conference dives deep into building secure future

Infrastructure
Road Care app leads to surge in repairs
Old bridge in Battambang closed pending repairs
Sihanoukville canal restoration to stymie floods
Bike trail being built around Angkor Park
ADB supports Cambodia in development of livable city
Transport master plan nearing completion
China key contributor to transport infrastructure development in Cambodia: Cambodian minister
VINCI Construction wins a contract to build a water treatment plant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
PM addresses infrastructure
Sihanoukville to welcome four new industrial parks
Japan pledges to expend cooperation with Cambodia
Cambodia Construction and Infrastructure Market 2020 Share, Trend, Segmentation and Forecast to 2026

Travel & Tourism
Wing Creates a Cashless Experience for Tourists visiting Cambodia
Cambodia creates tourism development committee
US investors look into tourism opportunities in Cambodia
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Cambodia's China-built runway irks US but locals have other concerns Nikkei Asian Review 11th Nov 2019
The rural southwestern province of Koh Kong, previously off the international community's radar screen, has drawn the global spotlight. That's because a massive runway stretching approximately 3,200 meters appeared suddenly at a resort being developed by a Chinese company in this otherwise out-of-the-way province, about a six-hour drive from the nation's capital. The U.S. has expressed strong concerns about the possibility of China using the runway for military purposes; Cambodia has flatly denied this will be the case. As the U.S. and China confront each other over trade, security and other issues, residents of the coastal province are watching the situation with mixed feelings. Koh Kong -- population: about 100,000 -- is Cambodia's southwesternmost province. With the exception of agriculture and fisheries, it has no high-profile industry. In 2008, the Cambodian government signed an agreement to lease the land facing the sea to China's Union Group for 99 years. A five-star hotel, golf course, mixed-use compound, international airport and other facilities are to be built on the vast 450 sq. km site. A deep-sea port that can receive large ships is also to be constructed there. The airport has attracted particularly strong international attention because of its staggering size. Its 3,200-meter runway is long enough for ultra-large passenger planes like Airbus' A380 to take off and land. The runway is longer than the 3,000-meter strip at Phnom Penh International Airport. But next door in Thailand, Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport has a 3,700-meter runway and a 4,000-meter strip. Across the Vietnamese border, the airport serving Ho Chi Minh City has a 3,048-meter runway and another of 3,800 meters. The whole project seems to have received the go-ahead without anyone first checking to see if it might be profitable. This is why U.S. Vice President Mike Pence last November pointed to the possibility of China diverting the facility to military use.

National Affairs

Trump: US does not want regime change in Kingdom | Phnom Penh Post Phnom Penh Post 19th Dec 2019
Prime Minister Hun Sen meets with US Ambassador Patrick Murphy at the Peace Palace last Thursday. Hun Sen’s Facebook page Trump: US does not want regime change in Kingdom US president Donald Trump has expressed the US’ commitment to respecting Cambodia’s sovereignty and invited Prime Minister Hun Sen to attend the US-Asean summit in the US next year. Trump made the pledge and invitation in two separate letters addressed to Hun Sen early this month, the contents of which were revealed during a meeting between the prime minister and US Ambassador Patrick Murphy in Phnom Penh on Thursday. In his Facebook post, Hun Sen quoted Trump as saying that the US would continue its support for the Kingdom’s development in various fields, while refraining from interfering in its internal affairs.

US ambassador meets with ECCC officials Khmer Times 17th Dec 2019
US Ambassador Patrick Murphy yesterday met with officials at the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia to discuss the US’ further support in the Khmer Rouge tribunal. Mr Murphy said on Twitter after the meeting that the US remains supportive. “Since 1994, with passage in Congress of the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act, the US has supported the KR Tribunal [ECCC] and the pursuit of justice,” Mr Murphy said. “[I am] inspired to meet the many hard-working experts working to hold those responsible for atrocities accountable under the rule of law,” he said. The US is one of the ECCC’s donors along with Japan, Australia, European Union, Germany, Sweden, UK and other nations.

Education Ministry to create more New Generation Schools Khmer Times 16th Dec 2019
The Education Ministry plans to increase the number of New Generation Schools to about 150 across the country in a bid to strengthen the education sector in a digital age. Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron revealed the plan yesterday when the ministry launched an NGS school in Preah Yukunthor High School in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district. “This NGS is a kind of education reform. The students learn STEM while taking into mind the digital era and industrial evolution 4.0 to develop their ability to be ready for landing a better job in the future,” Mr Naron said, noting that the Preah Yukunthor NGS school has 75 students. Presiding over the NGS launch, Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth said that he supported the Ministry of Education to create more NGS schools as there are now 11 throughout the country where students are excelling in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Inspection centre opens in capital Khmer Times 12th Dec 2019
Inspection centre opens in capital Transport Minister Sun Chanthol yesterday said more than 300,000 vehicles across the country have undergone safety inspections, but another 300,000 have not and must in order to ensure a reduction in traffic accidents. Speaking during the inauguration of a new vehicle safety inspection centre in Phnom Penh, Mr Chanthol said about 300,000 vehicles have had their safety inspected. He noted that owners of more than 300,000 vehicles whose inspection certificates have expired must have them inspected or else they face fines, noting failure to have vehicles inspected is one of the causes of traffic accidents.

PM committed to meet Trump during Asean-US Summit Khmer Times 11th Dec 2019
Despite recent diplomatic setbacks with the United States, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said he was committed to attending the Asean-US Summit in the United States early next year to hold talks with President Donald Trump. Mr Hun Sen said he exchanged letters with Mr Trump to mend diplomatic relations between the two nations and rejected critics claiming Mr Trump’s letter was a form of pressure for the government to respect human rights and democracy. “After Trump sent a letter to me, someone said Trump is pressuring me. Oh, my god,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Cambodia was the first nation to support the Asean-US Summit in the US.”

Ministry files NGO freedom report as part of EBA review Khmer Times 8th Dec 2019
The Ministry of Interior has submitted a report on the state of NGOs to the Foreign Affairs Ministry ahead of the latter’s imminent response to the European Union’s concerns over rights and freedom in the country in relation to the possible withdrawal of the Kingdom’s Everything-but-arms trade status. Last month, the European Commission filed a preliminary report with the government in regards to the EBA review, which highlighted ongoing EU concerns over rights, freedom and democracy in the Kingdom. The government is set to respond to the report this week, and the Interior Ministry has already filed a report over the work of NGOs in the country to the Foreign Affairs Ministry to be included in the response.

Patrick Murphy praises ministry for expanding BFC programme Khmer Times 5th Dec 2019
Patrick Murphy praises ministry for expanding BFC programme United States Ambassador Patrick Murphy has lauded the Kingdom’s efforts in strengthening labour conditions by expanding the Better Factories Cambodia programme to also cover travel goods production. Mr Murphy on Wednesday met with Labour Minister Ith Samheng to express support for the move. Mr Murphy on Twitter shortly after the meeting said he encourages efforts to improve workplaces of factory workers. “Happy to see Better Factories Cambodia expand its labour rights programme to travel goods,” he said.

Beyond the Trump-Hun Sen Letters, Where Will a US-Cambodia Thaw End Up? The Diplomat 29th Nov 2019
Over the past week, revelations of a recent letter exchange between U.S. President Donald Trump and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has reignited interest in the evolving state of U.S.-Cambodia relations. While the focus thus far has been on the specifics of the letter exchange itself, the bigger question continues to be what the outlines for a previously expected thawing of a U.S.-Cambodia relationship may look like in the coming months.

In reversal, Cambodia's Hun Sen offers new 'bond of friendship' Reuters 27th Nov 2019
Cambodia’s authoritarian leader Hun Sen has offered to renew friendship with the United States after receiving a letter from President Donald Trump, a turnaround in relations with the country he once accused of conspiring to overthrow him. A letter dated Nov. 26 from Hun Sen to Trump thanked him for assurances that Washington was not seeking “regime change” in Cambodia. Both countries foreign affairs teams should now work “to restore trust and confidence, and renew the bond of friendship between our two countries and peoples”, he added in the letter seen by Reuters.

Trump urges Cambodia to return to 'democratic path' after crackdown Reuters 22nd Nov 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump has written to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen urging him to put the Southeast Asian nation back on a democratic path and seeking to improve ties with one of China’s closest regional allies. Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for more than 34 years, has been under increasing western pressure to improve his human rights record, with the European Union threatening the withdrawal of important trade benefits. The relationship with the United States has been particularly dire after Cambodian accusations of U.S. plotting against Hun Sen.

Hun Sen rival faces trial even as EU threatens Cambodia sanctions Nikkei Asian Review 19th Nov 2019
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is pressing ahead with a treason case against a leading opposition figure who has just been released from house arrest, despite the nation facing European Union trade sanctions over its human rights record. Hun Sen said on Monday that charges against Kem Sokha would not be dropped as demanded by the EU, Cambodia's biggest export destination. "This case doesn't require one or two days, or one month or two months, it will take a long time," the strongman leader said.

Cambodia to free more than 70 opposition activists on bail Reuters 14th Nov 2019
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the release on bail of more than 70 opposition activists arrested in recent weeks and accused of plotting to overthrow the government, he said on Thursday. Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for more than 34 years, has been under increasing international pressure to improve his human rights record, with the European Union threatening the withdrawal of important trade benefits. “There are over 70 people, please hurry up work on this case so that these brothers can be released on bail,” Hun Sen said in a speech at a new cement factory in the southern province of Kampot, in comments directed at judicial authorities.

US and Cambodia to bolster ties in various fields Khmer Times 13th Nov 2019
Defence Minister General Tea Banh and United States Ambassador Patrick Murphy met yesterday to discuss cooperation in the areas of peacekeeping, humanitarian demining and POW/MIA accounting. “In general, he wants cooperation between Cambodia and the US in all sectors to be good again,” Gen Banh told Khmer Times after the meeting. “Among others, he spoke of docking for US [naval] ships, demining and peacekeeping.” He said Mr Murphy wants to visit areas in Cambodia still riddled with landmines.

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo Urged by House Members to Act for Cambodians VOA 8th Nov 2019
Five U.S. Congressmen want Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to urge the Cambodian government to “uphold Cambodia’s constructional commitment to principles of liberal multi-party democracy.” In a letter sent Friday to the top American diplomat, the signatories expressed concern about the “unrest and violence that may ensue given Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s repeated threats” against the exiled leaders of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who have announced their intention of returning to Cambodia on November 9. “We are also deeply troubled by the politically-motivated arrests and detention of CNRP activists and supporters since August 16, when CNRP exiled leaders announced their plan to return to Cambodia,” the letter said.

Cambodia-US trade up 37 pct in first nine months Khmer Times 6th Nov 2019
Cambodia-US trade up 37 pct in first nine months Prime Minister Hun Sen and US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy called for a strengthening of ties between their countries last month. Prime Minister Hun Sen and US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy called for a strengthening of ties between their countries last month. Two-way trade between Cambodia and the United States reached $4.3 billion in the first nine months of 2019, an increase of 37 percent compared with the same period last year, the latest data from the US government shows.

ASEAN

Use what you have: UNDP panel advises on SME growth Khmer Times 3rd Dec 2019
Gathering a select group of experts for yesterday’s panel discussion ‘Building Prosperous and Resilient SMEs in Emerging Economies’, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) sought to tackle the issue of growth in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and brought international case studies to the forefront to see what lessons can be applied to Cambodia. “Use what you have” became the mantra of the day courtesy of one Yuen Yuen Ang – an associate professor of political science and a China specialist at the University of Michigan, whose first book ‘How China Escaped the Poverty Trap’ analysed the twists and turns in China’s economic and social development. “The poverty trap is best explained as the understanding that countries are poor because they’re weak and weak because they are poor,” said Ms Ang, adding that these are mutually reinforcing and create a vicious cycle that leaves governments and their developmental partners at odds over which issue to address first.

Customs

Singapore tech to increase national tax revenue The Phnom Penh Post 5th Dec 2019
The General Department of Taxation (GDT) is sourcing for an advanced IT system in Singapore to modernise the Kingdom’s tax system and improve its collection process and efficiency. GDT director-general Kong Vibol led a delegation on a three-day learning visit from November 27 to 29 in Singapore and toured the country’s data management centre Starhub and Vertiv (Singapore) Pte Ltd. The delegation learnt data management and maintenance, the efficiency of applying technology for tax matters via smart devices, data analysis and the utilisation of Artificial Intelligent (AI) to improve the overall quality of the GDT.

Cambodia lifts opposition leader's house arrest before EU trade decision Reuters 11th Nov 2019
Cambodia lifted house arrest restrictions on opposition leader Kem Sokha on Sunday, more than two years after he was charged with treason, but the charges remain and he is banned from politics and from leaving the country. Pressure has been growing on Hun Sen, Cambodia’s authoritarian ruler of more than three decades, to ease a crackdown on his opponents as the European Union considers whether to cut preferential trade terms. “As an innocent person who has been jailed for two years, I continue to demand that the charges against me be dropped,” Kem Sokha said in a Facebook post.

Defense & Security

US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties | Phnom Penh Post Phnom Penh Post 4th Dec 2019
The US on Tuesday pledged to help train military officers, particularly Cambodia’s blue helmet troops deployed for UN’s peacekeeping operations. The pledge was made during a meeting between US ambassador Patrick Murphy and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen. Further strengthening of the two nations’ relations was also discussed. In a Facebook post, Pisen said: “[Cambodia] continues to collaborate with the US by exchanging visits and finding the remains of US soldiers who had gone missing in Cambodia.”

Economics

Senators approve $8.23 billion national budget for next year Khmer Times 9th Dec 2019
Senators approve $8.23 billion national budget for next year Senators vote on the 2020 budget yesterday prior to also passing Trade Union Law amendments. Senators vote on the 2020 budget yesterday prior to also passing Trade Union Law amendments. The Senate yesterday unanimously adopted a budget of $8.23 billion for next year’s national budget. All 58 of the 62 senators who attended the plenary session yesterday voted in favour of the draft law.

Cambodia looks resigned to losing EBA deal | Labels & Legislation News | News Ecotextile 5th Dec 2019
The Cambodian government appears resigned to the loss of European Union (EU) special trade preferences, a move which could massively impact on the country's apparel industry and cost about 90,000 garment workers their jobs. Cambodia benefits from the 'Everything But Arms' (EBA) trade programme, which allows developing nations to export most goods to the EU free of duties, but an 18-month review which began in February could lead to the EBA being suspended over the country's human rights record. The suspension of trade privileges is looking increasingly likely with Prime Minister Hun Sen making preparations for the deal’s suspension rather than putting his efforts into improving human rights.

Financial Risks Challenge Cambodia’s Apparel Exports-Driven Economy Sourcing Journal 2nd Dec 2019
Cambodia’s economy, underscored by solid exports and strong domestic demand, remains strong, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s “Cambodia Economic Update,” but challenges persist. However, real growth is expected to slightly decelerate to 7 percent in 2019, down from 7.5 percent in 2018. Garment and footwear exports, accounting for about 70 percent

$3 billion in reserve ahead of possible EBA withdrawal | Phnom Penh Post Phnom Penh Post 28th Nov 2019
The government has reserved around $3 billion to cope with a possible suspension of the Kingdom’s access to the EU’s preferential “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement. Hav Ratanak, the director-general of the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Budget said this on Thursday during a press conference on the National Progress and Equitable Dividend Distribution at the Council of Ministers. “The government did not spend all of the revenue collected from taxes. The state has enough savings to deal with any possible crisis in the future. “So far, the state and the prime minister have already raised around $3 billion to mitigate any shock from a [possible] withdrawal,” he said.

National economy experiencing robust growth: WB Khmer Times 27th Nov 2019
The World Bank said in its latest report that Cambodia’s economic growth remained robust, underpinned by solid export performance and strong domestic demand. The bank’s Cambodia Economic Update Report released yesterday said that Cambodia’s real growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is forecast to decelerate to 7 percent in 2019, down from 7.5 percent in 2018. The Cambodia Economic Update is a biannual report that provides up-to-date information on short- and medium-term macroeconomic developments in Cambodia. It says that garment and footwear exports, accounting for about 70 percent of total merchandise exports, grew at 17.7 percent in 2018, but eased slightly to 15.3 percent in June 2019. Footwear exports accelerated, reaching 20 percent year-on-year in June 2019, compared with 19.2 percent in 2018.

The EU Is In a Bind Over Trade Versus Human Rights in Cambodia BloombergQuint 12th Nov 2019
The European Union and Cambodia moved closer to a confrontation that may be a litmus test for whether EU free trade helps promote free societies. The European Commission today sent the Cambodian government a report on alleged human-rights violations. The submission is part of an EU threat to suspend Cambodia’s right to export all goods except weapons duty-free and quota-free to the bloc, the world's biggest single market.

Cambodia looking towards more investments from the US NST Online 5th Nov 2019
In making the call, its Minister of Commerce, Pan Sorasak said the United States was committed to further promoting trade relations with the Kingdom and urged investors to participate in trade fairs and business matching to promote growth, as reported by the Phnom Penh Post.

Energy

Coal-fired power plant breaks ground Khmer Times 18th Dec 2019
Coal-fired power plant breaks ground Once operational, Leader Energy’s CEL II will be able to produce 135 megawatts. Once operational, Leader Energy’s CEL II will be able to produce 135 megawatts. Construction of two 350-megawatt coal-fired power units broke ground yesterday. The power generated is scheduled to be linked to the national grid in 2022.

Kingdom lays out the welcome mat for renewable energy investment Phnom Penh Post 3rd Dec 2019
The government welcomes investment from Germany in the Kingdom’s solar and renewable energy sector as local demand for electricity continues to rise between 15 to 20 per cent annually, Ministry of Mines and Energy official Victor Jona said on Tuesday in Phnom Penh.

Germany to provide $70M to broaden road, electricity networks Phnom Penh Post 3rd Dec 2019
Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and Federal Republic of Germany ambassador to Cambodia Christian Berger reached two agreements on Thursday to provide the Kingdom with more than $70 million in development financing.

In Cambodia, solar power surges China Dialogue 3rd Dec 2019
One hour west of Cambodia’s capital an array of iridescent panels stretches between palm trees, glistening through dust clouds from a neighbouring highway. A year ago it was a barren expanse of chalky soil. Now it’s Cambodia’s largest solar farm. The joint Cambodian-Chinese project, which came online in August, is only Cambodia’s second utility-scale solar project. But the government has approved more than four major solar farms to be built across the country.

Cambodia plans to spend over US$100mil on subsidies by 2021 NST Online 2nd Dec 2019
Cambodia plans to spend more than US$100 million (RM417 million) on subsidies by 2021 to reduce electricity tariffs and spur economic growth. The move is also to relieve the financial burden of businesses and households. Cambodian utility company Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) director general Keo Ratanak told The Phnom Penh Post that the government had already spent some US$95 million (RM396 million) to reduce tariffs this year.

Cambodia struggles to keep the lights on Asia Times 2nd Dec 2019
Cambodia is racing to prevent a new spate of power outages, similar to the unexpected rolling blackouts suffered earlier this year that caused untold damage to the economy. Prime Minister Hun Sen warned in November that water levels at the country’s hydropower dams are running exceptionally low, driving down power plant production to about one-tenth of their normal output.

Australia’s ATEC raises $1.6 million to sell biodigesters in Cambodia, Bangladesh ImpactAlpha 2nd Dec 2019
Solar startups pioneered the pay-as-you-go model to introduce low-income, off-grid customers to electricity. Australia’s ATEC is applying the financing model to biodigestion to enable Asia’s smallholder farmers to manage farm waste and simultaneously tap a new energy source: biogas.

US companies urged to invest in Cambodia Khmer Times 24th Nov 2019
Cambodia last week asked the United States to increase investments in the Kingdom, claiming that working conditions here have improved dramatically in recent years. The appeal was made by Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak in a meeting on Friday with US Ambassador Patrick Murphy.

ISDN in tie-up to build Cambodia power plant The Straits Times 5th Nov 2019
Mainboard-listed ISDN Holdings has taken a 33 per cent stake in a joint venture that will build an 80MW hydroelectric power plant in Cambodia. The industrial automation firm will inject US$500,000 (S$679,000) as equity into the joint venture and another US$2.5 million as a shareholder loan representing the expected sum for the project's initial development phase, it said yesterday.

Maybank lauds Mega First’s Cambodian power project Phnom Penh Post 5th Nov 2019
Maybank Investment Bank Research is positive on the progress of Mega First Corp Bhd’s (MFCB) transmission line from the Don Sahong Hydropower Project in Khong district in Laos’ Champasak province to Cambodia’s Stung Treng province. On Tuesday, it said the line is expected to be completed by early December, in time for Don Sahong’s commercial operations in January.

Cambodian oil: the dream that refuses to die Nikkei Asian Review 1st Nov 2019
Block A -- Cambodia's most promising oil concession -- is the dream that refuses to die. The concession's Apsara field, if fully tapped, would help diversify an economy heavily reliant on garment exports -- and increasingly Chinese investment.

Financial Services

Asean banking conference to shape strategy for industry The Phnom Penh Post 5th Dec 2019
The 22nd Asean Banking Conference and the 49th Asean Banking Council Meeting kicks off on Monday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This is the Kingdom’s first time hosting the conference and the second time for the council meeting. The event is organised by the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) and will be held from November 25 to 27 with the participation of more than 400 investors and banking sector stakeholders. Asean Bankers Association and Lao Bankers Association chairman Phoukhong Chanthachack said that studies have shown that Asean has the fastest penetration and adoption of mobile and smartphones in the world.

Banks urged to focus on digital innovation Khmer Times 25th Nov 2019
Banks urged to focus on digital innovation Bankers in Southeast Asia have been urged to focus on digital innovation to improve their operations. The bankers were encouraged to adopt the latest technology in the industry at the Asean Banking Conference, held yesterday in Phnom Penh. The three-day event, which focused on the digital transformation of banking and financial services in Asean, was attended by top professionals from across the region. It started on Sunday and will finish today.

Food & Agriculture

Minister calls for faster community registration Khmer Times 17th Dec 2019
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon calls for faster land registration and issuance of land titles. Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon calls for faster land registration and issuance of land titles. Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon yesterday called for faster registration of forestry communities and the issuance of land titles to better manage and protect forests. He made the call during a visit to the forestry community in Kampong Speu province where he met relevant officials, provincial authorities and villagers. Mr Sakhon noted that sustainable forest management and development are a priority to support rural livelihoods, reduce poverty and maintain biodiversity, especially when dealing with climate change.

ADB to Help Improve Irrigation Systems of Four Provinces in Cambodia - Cambodia ReliefWeb 5th Dec 2019
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $119.16 million financing package to help modernize and improve the climate and disaster resilience of irrigation systems in four provinces in Cambodia, which will help supply water to 43,500 hectares (ha) of farm land benefiting 290,000 people, half of whom women. The irrigation systems covered by ADB’s assistance, which is comprised of a $117 million loan and a $2.16 million grant from the Asian Development Fund, are Kamping Pouy in Battambang province, Prek Po in Kampong Cham province, Stung Chinit South in Kampong Thom province, and Canal 15 in Takeo province. This will help improve the provinces’ agricultural productivity and contribute to the reduction of rural poverty across the country.

Zoomlion's Strategic Cooperation with Cambodia Brings Modern Agricultural Equipment and Technologies AsiaOne 9th Dec 2019
Zoomlion Agricultural Machinery Co, a subsidiary of Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co, (01157.HK), has signed an MoU with the Cambodia Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on promoting mechanization of agriculture and application of intelligent agricultural technologies on November 19 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At the signing ceremony, Zoomlion also announced a donation of high-end agricultural equipment including fully mechanized corn production equipment and intelligent dryers to support the transformation and development of Cambodia's modern agriculture. Founded in 1992, Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology Co., Ltd. (01157.HK) is a high-end equipment manufacturing enterprise that integrates engineering machinery, agricultural machinery and financial services. The company now sells more than 460 cutting-edge products from 55 product lines covering ten significant categories.

Japanese firm seeks investment in Kingdom’s silk production Khmer Times 8th Dec 2019
Japanese firm Nippon Koei has announced its intention to invest in Cambodia’s silk industry. The plan was unveiled during a meeting last week between Cambodia’s Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon and Tamura Tsutomu, general manager of Nippon Koei. Mr Tsutomu said his company is interested in investing in silk production in the Kingdom having learned that Cambodian silk is in high demand. The Khmer Silk Center, an institution dedicated to research in the silk industry and to revitalising the weaving sector, launched in June inside the Royal University of Phnom Penh. The facility was initiated by RUPP with contributions from the Japanese government and United Nations Development Program.

Cambodia joins Vietnamese programme for agri cooperation Khmer Times 1st Dec 2019
Cambodia joins Vietnamese programme for agri cooperation The agriculture sector in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos still lag when it comes to the adoption of modern technology. The agriculture sector in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos still lag when it comes to the adoption of modern technology. Cambodia has sent representatives to attend a Vietnamese programme that seeks to strengthen the relationship between them and the agricultural sectors of Vietnam and Laos, Vietnamese media reported. The programme, which also includes a green agricultural fair, kicked off Saturday and concludes today in the Vietnamese city of Da Lat in the Central Highlands. The Cambodian delegation to the Friendship Meeting Programme includes Agriculture Ministry officials, agricultural experts and farmers.

Gov’t tells farmers to plant one rice crop in dry season | Phnom Penh Post Phnom Penh Post 25th Nov 2019
The 2019-2020 paddy output across the country may decline by 10.7 million tonnes, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries secretary-general Srey Vuthy said on Sunday. Heng Chivoan Gov’t tells farmers to plant one rice crop in dry season The upcoming drought will affect Cambodia’s dry-season rice production, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has said on Sunday. The Mekong River Commission announced last week that Cambodia and the other Lower Mekong River Basin countries – Thailand, Laos and Vietnam – would suffer severe drought from now until January. The government issued a circular calling on rice farmers to only plant one crop of rice during the 2019-2020 dry season to avert water shortages.

Sreylin – the face of technology in farming Khmer Times 21st Nov 2019
THE future of Cambodia’s agriculture sector looks brighter with more dedicated youngsters like Meng Sreylin whose ambition is to grow the agriculture sector by using technology. And this is what Sreylin, as a co-founder of ‘Smart Farm Assistance’ – a technology that uses a phone in irrigation for fruit farming – has been good at. The monitoring of crops in the fields with irrigation technology and the smartphone has been made possible by Sreylin who is an 18-year-old sophomore majoring in e-Commerce at NIPICT. Sreylin worked on her entrepreneurship project by using technology with her team to invent ‘Smart Pump’ and ‘Smart Valve’ in a Smart Farm Assistance startup, her first since she was a freshman. The ‘Smart Farm Assistance’ set – which includes the electronic station, a mobile SIM card and a solar panel with three sensors – costs 280,000 riel ($70). In future, farmers will be able to check on soil humidity and control their irrigation system remotely via their phones. Farmers don’t need to visit their fields regularly to check soil humidity and open and close water drains.

Health & Life Sciences

Ministry pushes for in-house infirmaries by end of 2020 Khmer Times 4th Dec 2019
Ministry pushes for in-house infirmaries by end of 2020 The Labour Ministry plans to ensure that at least 98 percent of enterprises in the Kingdom have in-house infirmaries by the end of next year. Leng Tong, director of the ministry’s Occupational Health and Safety Department, yesterday noted at a workshop that at present, 80 percent of among more than one thousand enterprises already have infirmaries. The workshop, held at the ministry in cooperation with civil society groups UNFPA, PE&D, FHI 360 and CARE, was aimed at sharing experiences on the setting up of such infirmaries in order to ensure employees’ health at the workplace.

Health Ministry issues antibiotics warning Khmer Times 21st Nov 2019
The Health Ministry yesterday instructed people not to use antibiotic medicine when they have a fever or cold, noting that it makes treatment longer. The instruction was issued as the World Health Organisation and 196 member countries, including Cambodia, celebrate World Antibiotic Awareness Week from Monday until November 24. According to a World Health Organisation report in 2018, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. The organisation predicts that drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and lead to a global financial crisis.

Report: 28.1% of Cambodians take out loans for healthcare Phnom Penh Post 18th Nov 2019
A new report has found that 28.1 per cent of Cambodians borrow money to pay for healthcare, with microfinance insiders claiming it does not reflect the reality in the financial sector. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) surveyed 5,000 households across Cambodia and found that of those who borrowed money for their healthcare, 55 per cent experienced distress health financing. Co-lead author Dr Augustine Asante, of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW Sydney, said the study sent a clear message that Cambodia’s healthcare system is inadequate in achieving the protection necessary to move towards universal coverage. “Cambodia has made good progress in terms of enhancing the equity of its health financing system, but there is a great deal of work left to be done to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure, especially for its poor and most vulnerable citizens,” Dr Asante said.

ICT

Minister: Prioritise training to realise smart city network Phnom Penh Post 19th Dec 2019
Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron told an audience at the National Institution of Education on Tuesday that Cambodia must prioritise training in human resources for the education sector if the Kingdom wished to realise its plans of creating a smart city network in the capital and Battambang and Siem Reap provinces. “Our youths are already using technology to further their knowledge. Initiatives like smart communes, complete with smart school projects, may be integrated into the smart city plan which will require classrooms to be equipped with technology,” he said.

Ministry pushes motorists to utilise QR code licence plates Khmer Times 5th Dec 2019
Ministry pushes motorists to utilise QR code licence plates The QR codes will make it easier for police to conduct investigations. The QR codes will make it easier for police to conduct investigations. The Transport Ministry is encouraging drivers to replace their old licence plates with ones displaying QR codes in a bid to curb the use of fake plates in the Kingdom. Minister Sun Chanthol during a discussion on traffic safety in Phnom Penh on Tuesday said the Ministry of Finance was asked to provide financial support in making QR code plates more readily available so authorities can easily manage data, protect against fraud and conduct investigations. “Drivers who still use old licence plates, please come and change them with ones displaying QR codes,” Mr Chanthol said. “It is free, our government will spend about $3 million…to make this work.”

Ministry prioritising efforts to digitalise job market services Khmer Times 2nd Dec 2019
The Labour Ministry is prioritising efforts to digitalise the public employment services system to respond better to changes in the labour market. Labour Minister Ith Samheng yesterday said that Cambodia had only started such services in 2009 and the use of technology is still limited. He was speaking at the launch of the two-day Asia-Pacific Conference of the World Association of Public Employment Services under the theme “Digitalisation in Public Employment Services” in Siem Reap province. About 400 participants from 12 Asia-Pacific countries are attending the conference.

Cybersecurity conference dives deep into building secure future Khmer Times 4th Nov 2019
The urgent need for better cybersecurity was highlighted at a top conference attended by senior figures in the industry in Phnom Penh yesterday. The two-day Cybersecurity Asia 2019 event at the Rosewood Hotel continues today. Opening the conference on the first day, CEO of Smart Axiata Thomas Hundt stressed the need for constant vigilance. Phannarith Ou, ICT security director at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, was also present at the event. He pointed out that the country’s current cybersecurity landscape is moving quickly to a digital economy so the issue was even more vital. Representing Cybersecurity Malaysia, CEO Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab spoke about what it takes to build a successful cyber programme that keeps out any attempts at infiltration.

Infrastructure

Road Care app leads to surge in repairs Khmer Times 16th Dec 2019
The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation yesterday said 310 potholes were repaired after residents reported them using its new app. In December 2018, the ministry launched the Road Care application in order to encourage citizens to report damaged roads. Since the Road Care app was launched, it has been downloaded 17,122 times, leading to the repairs of potholes caused by floods and overloaded vehicles. According to a ministry report issued yesterday, 310 potholes out of 2,503 reported through the app have been repaired. The report noted that the remaining potholes will be fixed over the next year.

Old bridge in Battambang closed pending repairs Khmer Times 16th Dec 2019
Old bridge in Battambang closed pending repairs The bridge was built during the French colonial era in 1916. The bridge was built during the French colonial era in 1916. Battambang provincial Governor Nguon Rattanak has closed a 100-year-old bridge in Battambang city pending the completion of repairs. Mr Rattanak in a letter announcing the closure last week said provincial officials inspected the bridge recently and concluded it needs to be renovated. “The bridge is called ‘Spean Thmor Chas’. It was built during the French colonial era in 1916. The bridge is 103 years old now,” he said. “In order to keep the bridge with us for longer…the provincial administration has decided to ban people from crossing or playing on the bridge.”

Sihanoukville canal restoration to stymie floods Khmer Times 9th Dec 2019
Officials yesterday began to restore five 25km-long canals in Sihanoukville in a move to curb flooding in the city during torrential rains. Public Works Minister Sun Chanthol said at a canal restoration ceremony that the city will face flooding if the five canals are not restored by March. “I discussed this with the working group tasked with repairing the five canals and we are committed to completing it within three months from now until early March or the end of March next year,” Mr Chanthol said. The restoration will cost about $2.5 million. The canals are Andaung Untac, Sam Ath, O’Chhoeuteal, Amario, and Spean Chhes.

Bike trail being built around Angkor Park Khmer Times 8th Dec 2019
The Apsara Authority is constructing a 23-kilometre bicycle trail around the Angkor Archaeological Park to provide safety for cyclists and help reduce traffic congestion on main roads. Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal yesterday said ICC-Angkor greenlit the project and 300 metres have been built so far. “Most of our people and tourists cycle on main roads with a lot of cars and motorcycles,” Mr Kosal said. “The Apsara Authority initiated the project for the safety of our people and tourists who cycle.”

ADB supports Cambodia in development of livable city Phnom Penh Post 16th Dec 2019
In a forum on Wednesday, the government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) underlined the significance of well-planned urban infrastructure development and shared insights on waste management innovations, asset management, public-private partnerships, and urban financing.

Transport master plan nearing completion Phnom Penh Post 16th Dec 2019
The government has nearly finished the draft of the Intermodal Transport Master Plan 2021-2030 (the Plan), a Ministry of Economy and Finance press release said on Wednesday. The draft seeks to promote Cambodia’s connectivity, reduce transportation and logistics costs, integrate the Kingdom into the region and the globe, and increase competitiveness, as well as diversify the economy to boost sustainability, it said. The draft is expected to be finished by mid-2020.

China key contributor to transport infrastructure development in Cambodia: Cambodian minister Xinhua 19th Nov 2019
China has played and will continue to play a key role in helping develop transport infrastructure in Cambodia, Cambodian Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Tuesday.

VINCI Construction wins a contract to build a water treatment plant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Yahoo Finance 19th Nov 2019
On 14 November 2019, VINCI Construction Grands Projets signed a contract with the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to design and build the Bakheng water treatment plant in the northern outskirts of the Cambodian capital. The first phase of the project, with a value of $155 million (€141 million), covers construction of: (...)

PM addresses infrastructure Phnom Penh Post 19th Nov 2019
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday addressed the Kingdom’s spending on new infrastructure projects during the groundbreaking ceremony for 34 new roads in Preah Sihanouk province amid calls for greater transparency over Cambodia’s expenditures.

Sihanoukville to welcome four new industrial parks Khmer Times 18th Nov 2019
The coastal province of Preah Sihanouk will soon be home to four more special economic zones, bringing the total number of industrial parks there to nine, the prime minister said Saturday.

Japan pledges to expend cooperation with Cambodia Khmer Times 16th Nov 2019
New Japanese ambassador Mikami Masahiro has pledged to continue strengthening and expanding cooperation with government to maintain the Kingdom’s peace and stability.

Cambodia Construction and Infrastructure Market 2020 Share, Trend, Segmentation and Forecast to 2026 Downey Magazine 15th Nov 2019
Increasing government expenditure towards sustainable infrastructure development with continued investment in energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable assets is promoting the market demand for Cambodia Construction and Infrastructure companies. The government is also encouraging companies that emphasize on technological advancements and standardizing modern methods of construction.

Travel & Tourism

Wing Creates a Cashless Experience for Tourists visiting Cambodia Khmer Times 15th Dec 2019
Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank is paving the way to extend its reach to the travelers visiting Cambodia offering them the freedom of staying connected with their loved ones and moving around cashless in Cambodia,  as well as ensuring their convenience and security. “Cambodia is growing as a tourist destination and with this offer we ensure convenience and ease for the travelers in making financial transactions,” said Mr. Manu Rajan, Chief Executive Officer of Wing. “We have conceived this offer after gauging the requirement of tourists arriving in the country and are pleased to give them connectivity, security and convenience, all in one bundle.” ‘Wing4U Tourist Pack’ will carry a SIM card which will have a range of data and call bundle based on the traveler’s length of stay, along with access to Wing’s Account and Mastercard, which can be used for shopping, booking and travelling in the country, with a wide range of discounts.

Cambodia creates tourism development committee Bangkok Post 1st Dec 2019
The National Tourism Development Committee has been created to boost the development of one of Cambodia’s most important economic drivers. A sub-decree on the creation of the committee was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Nov 22, according to a statement issued on Friday by the Ministry of Tourism. The new body will be chaired by one of the country’s deputy prime ministers, the Khmer Times reported, adding Tourism Minister Thong Khon will be the permanent vice-chairman.

US investors look into tourism opportunities in Cambodia Phnom Penh Post 26th Nov 2019
US investors are eyeing opportunities in Cambodia’s tourism sector, while the number of US visitors in the country remained low and is declining, said the Ministry of Tourism. Data from the Ministry of Tourism said US visitors who travelled to the Kingdom accounted for only 3.7 per cent of the total number of foreign tourists in the first nine months of the year. The US’ interest was expressed on Monday during the meeting between investors from that country and the ministry’s senior officials. The US delegation was led by Honorary Consul of Cambodia to California, US, Hout Kim Chha and LA Port representative Norman Arikawa in a bid to boost US-Cambodia tourism and trade investments.