Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday finally signed an agreement, which took four years to negotiate, to promote and protect business investments in both countries as a first step to instill confidence among investors.
“Both Cambodia and the UAE have been negotiating since 2013 for this agreement and this is a breakthrough,” said Sok Chenda Sophea, secretary-general of Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).
“This is a positive sign for both countries and we hope that with this agreement there will be more investors and businessmen from UAE who want to do business or invest in Cambodia in the future,” he added.
“All clauses in the agreement will benefit both parties and the Cambodian government gives an assurance that it will protect UAE investments in the country.”
Mr Chenda Sophea said that currently there are no investments yet from the UAE, though investors from the Arabian Peninsula nation had expressed interest in Cambodia’s fledgling gas sector.
He added that the agreement will pave the way for potential UAE investors to come to the country to carry out business exploratory trips.
“Emirate Airlines’ direct flights to Phnom Penh will certainly help cement business ties between Cambodia and the UAE,” said Mr Chenda Sophea.
Saif Abdullah Al Shamsi, UAE ambassador to Cambodia, told Mr Chenda Sophea that UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan is expected to visit Cambodia by the end of the year.
“Our foreign minister will also bring with him a delegation of UAE businessmen and potential investors,” he said.
Lim Heng, vice president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the UAE’s move.
“As a first step, we saw Emirates Airlines inaugurate direct flights to Phnom Penh. This agreement comes after that and it is a positive step,” said Mr Heng.
“UAE investors are also interested in investing in the halal food sector.
“Arabs mostly focus on the agriculture sector because they lack cultivated land. Due to that, they have to import most of their food,” he added.