I am greatly pleased and honored to preside over the opening of the 2017 Cambodia-China Trade and Tourism Promotion Forum. On behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I would like to express my profound thanks to the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China who always support economic development, trade and tourism development in Cambodia. At the same time, I would like to warmly welcome Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen, investors from Cambodia and China, who are participating in this event.
I also would like to sincerely congratulate and appreciate the collaboration between Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Tourism of People’s Republic of China, and Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia for the excellent arrangement of this event. I firmly believe that this forum will provide not only opportunities for businessmen and investors between the two countries to discuss and understand trade and tourism potentials, but also contribute to strengthening and expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries in terms of trade, industry, tourism, culture, investment and other sectors.
- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Taking this opportunity, I would like to highly appreciate the initiative of Excellency Xi Jinping, President of People’s Republic of China, for the deep governance reform of China and the introduction of Belt-Road strategy for international cooperation, which will not only play a key role in promoting the growth of China’s economy and trade, but also become a long-term strategy to promote connectivity and cooperation in all fields including infrastructure, economic, investment and finance as well as people-to-people relations among countries in the region and the world, which will create a ”Locomotive of Global Economic Growth”. In this context, along with the implementation of Belt and Road Initiative, the comprehensive strategic partnership between Kingdom of Cambodia and People’s Republic of China in every sector has been further strengthened and expanded steadily from one year to another.
In fact, the ties between the two countries and peoples started and took deep root dated back to more than 2,000 years ago, since the visits by Mr.Kang Thai and Mr. Chou Ying who were Chinese Ambassadors to Cambodia in Funan era. Afterwards, there was a visit by Mr. Chi TaKvan to Angkor Capital, where he brought back the knowledge of Khmer culture to disseminate to people in China, as shown in a record about the “Traditions of Chenla Peoples”. This signifies a long and invaluable historic-ties between the two countries and peoples.
On the other hand, in modern era under the leadership of Our Late King His Majesty Preah Norodom Sihanouk Preah Borom Ratanakkot andChairman Mao Zedong, our two countries Cambodia-China have established diplomatic ties since 19 July 1958. In the spirit of continuing close historical ties, the subsequent new China’s leadership and I, myself, have made great effort with an aim to strengthening and expanding further friendship and bilateral cooperation, which has evolved to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” since 2010. Furthermore, since the beginning, Cambodia has unwaveringly supported the initiative of China’s Belt and Road Strategy for International Cooperation.
Based on this, total trade volume between Cambodia and China has increased rapidly, on average 26% per annum, for the last 10 years. In 2016, bilateral trade rose to $4.8 billion with Cambodia’s exports to China valuing around $830 million and imports from China valuing at $3.9 billion. China is also the biggest investor in Cambodia, by 2016 the stock of Chinese investment reaching US$5.1 billion with majority in manufacturing, construction, textile, and power sectors. In addition, in 2016, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Cambodia was 830 thousand people – an increase of 20% compared to that of 2015.
On the other hand, in part of financing for development, Cambodia has received Official Development Assistance (ODA), both grants and loans, from China around USD 4.2 billion, up until February 2017, with majority on the development of physical infrastructures, agriculture, health and education. Under the Belt and Road Initiative Strategy for International Cooperation, our two countries commit to expand our comprehensive cooperation on some essential sectors including strengthening economic productivity, increasing bilateral trade, tourism, culture, investment, agriculture development…etc.
Under this new cooperation framework, in order to promote connectivity, especially, people-to-people, we have decided to establish Cambodia-China Cultural Village in Beijing which is planned to be built in very near future. Moreover, we have opened Cambodia’s Trade Centre in provinces of China to promote mutual exchanges and dissemination for the benefits of Chinese people, traders and investors, who are interested in Cambodia. These Cultural Villages and Trade Centers also exhibit samples of Cambodian products, books and other documents related to trades, tourism, cultures and investment in Cambodia. Furthermore, in order to seize full benefits from each of our country’s comparative advantages and to promote investment cooperation on industrial development of the two countries, Cambodia, represented by Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), and People’s Republic of China, represented by National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), also signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Enhancing Industrial Investment Cooperation, on 15th of October 2015 in Beijing.
- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
In the past few decades, Cambodia has gone through a remarkable transformation on political, security, and socio-economic aspects. Cambodia has become the island of peace and a popular tourist destination in South East Asia for both regional and international tourists. On economic aspect, Cambodia has become a middle-income country and is considered a new tiger cub in Asia, with robust economic growth at average around 7.7% in the past 2 decades. Cambodia expects to maintain the annual growth around 7% in the medium-term, reflecting progress of diversification in light manufacturing and integration into the global and regional production chains.
In parallel, with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as well as the expected completion of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in the near future, Cambodia is forging its linkage to the regional market or “Asian Factory” which is full of potential and dynamic through the investment to expand the production base, building and improving transport networks and logistic system, developing tourism physical infrastructure, promoting trade facilitation, developing financial system, and reforming legal system and institutions. In part of practical policy measures to support this vision, the Royal Government of Cambodia has adopted and is actively implementing “Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025” which is a “New Growth Strategy” or a road map for building production base with higher value added and is integrated with regional and global value chain. Indeed, foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction is the critical point of this policy attaching priorities on a number of sectors including (1) new manufacturing industries for opening the market entrance with higher value added, creativity and high competitiveness, (2) Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), especially in the manufacturing sector of drug and medical equipment, construction material, export-oriented packaging material, furniture, and equipment for industry and agro industry-oriented which served for export and domestic market, (3) Supporting industry for agriculture, tourism, and textile as well as serving for regional production chain and global value chain in the form of forward linkage and backward linkage industries, (4) Industries serving regional production chain which is strategically characterized as information technology and telecommunication, energy, heavy industries, cultural handicraft, traditional history and green technology.
- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Building on this foundation, I would like to encourage everyone to join partnership with us through specific contribution for the sake of designing better future for Cambodia. On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to ensure favorable and preferential investment environment for all investors, particularly peace, security, and political stability as well as macroeconomic stability in addition to legal and institutional framework that is effective, transparent, accountable, and predictable.
At the end, I would like to announce the official opening of the 2017 Cambodia-China Trade and Tourism Promotion Forum and wish this forum a great success.