via CAAI News Media
China to Sign Three Agreements With Cambodia to Boost Bilateral Trade
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 12:46 By Ek Madra DAP News
PHNOM PENH, March 17 (DAP) – Cambodia to sign three Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) with China during the visit of Chinese vice premier aims to improve the bilateral trade, a government’s spokesman told DAP.
Phay Siphan said Hui Liangyu, who is visiting the Kingdom from March 17 to 19, is more than just improving the already strong relationship but “to expand the two-way trade”.
Liangyu will preside over the signing ceremony of the bilateral cooperation in agriculture, which is the country’s back bone economy, accounted almost 27 percent of the country’s GDP.
Another agreement on enhancing cooperation between Cambodian telecommunication and China’s Huawei Technologies and the agreement on providing equipment and service providing between CAMGSM and Huawei Technologies, said the release.
Cambodia has been successful with rice production in the last decade and this prospect remains unchanged. The kingdom produced 7.286 million tonnes of rice for 2009/2010 of which the country saw another surplus of 3.1 million tonnes of rice for exports.
In February, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen announced an ambitious plan to invest another $310 million including the Chinese loans of $240 million for improving the kingdom’s irrigation systems, which is a key factor contribute to boost rice production for exports.
Many analysts said Cambodia’s potential investment in rice is high but opportunities for increased exports have been limited because of the country’s poor irrigations and processing facilities.
Agricultural minister Chan Sarun has said that Cambodia’s rice cultivated area could be increased up to 3.5 million hectares from 2.6 million hectare from which the country could reach a potential harvest of 12.25 million tonnes.
Also, telecommunications market in Cambodia stood at $429 million in 2008.
The growth in turnover has remained very robust, holding a high level of 31 percent on average for the last six years, said a government report.
The impoverished Southeast Asian nation has eight mobile phone firms, which foreign-owned except Mobitel, which worked in partnership with Luxembourg-registered Millicom International Cellular.
CAMGSM (Mobitel), which has lion share of 66 percent out of the Cambodian mobile phone market, followed by Camshin 12 percent, said a government’s report.
Cambodia has an estimated 4 million mobile phone subscribers out of a population of about 14 million people of which nearly 90 percent lived in the countryside.
Also, Cambodia has high potential in rice investment which intrigued not only China, the Cambodian biggest donor, but other donors such as Japan and South Korea.
Kuwait agreed to provide loans of $546 million for Cambodia of which some $486 million will be invested in irrigation systems and hydro-power in the northeast. The remains of $60 million goes for roads in the north-western province of Battambang, a rice-growing area.
Kuwait, which had leased rice fields in Cambodia to secure food supplies, planned to invest $200 million in the Cambodian farmlands.
“They have money, we have land. They won’t come if we do not have agricultural potential,” agriculture minister Chan Sarun has said.
China also pledged more loans for Cambodia to invest more in constructing irrigations in Prey Veng, Pursat and Oddar Meanchey.
Cambodia’s leaders called more Chinese investment to invest in the kingdom so that to boost exports. Beijing has provided Cambodia the duty free access of 418 items for exporting the products to the Chinese market.
Cambodia imported products from China was $933.43 million in 2008. The kingdom exported to China was $12.93 million the same year. The figures of trade value for 2009 were not immediately available.
Chinese investment in Cambodia lowered to US $349.15 million in 2009—hit by the international financial downturn. It was US $4.48 billion in 2008.
During the last December, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping encouraged Cambodia to export more products to China. At the time, China announced $1.2 billion in grant aid and loans for Cambodia to develop its physical infrastructures which were devastated by two decades of civil war in the 1970s.
Cambodian “One China Policy” cemented the two Asian nations’ relations thanks to the former King Norodom Sihanouk who inked the diplomatic relations with Beijing since 1958.