US to support infrastructure investment in SEA

Sum Manet / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Men work on the construction of a road in Phnom Penh. KT/Valinda Aim

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a federal development finance institution in the US, is looking to support American infrastructure investment in Southeast Asia to enhance the region’s connectivity.

David Bohigian, OPIC’s executive vice president, is now in Thailand to promote US investment in Southeast Asia and the greater Indo-Pacific, meeting with senior government officials and business leaders from US-based companies.

On Monday he met with Kobsak Pootrakool, assistant secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, and told him that OPIC believes Thailand plays a leading role in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

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He said the group looks forward to overseeing investment cooperation in the region, according to an article in the Bangkok Post yesterday.

“OPIC is eager to support more projects that adhere to strong labour and environmental standards, while providing lasting benefits to the people of Thailand and the region,” Mr Bohigian said.

“Building on 200 years of great and good friendship, the US seeks to further our partnership with Thailand through infrastructure investments that enhance regional connectivity and drive economic growth,” he added.

OPIC supports investment in development in emerging markets around the world and has $4 billion invested across the Indo-Pacific in projects that are expanding access to energy, infrastructure and other sectors.

Mr Bohigian told Mr Pootrakool that OPIC focuses on infrastructure projects in Thailand – including ports, airports and railways, as well as those that can enhance connectivity in Southeast Asia.

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“We are seeking cooperation with the Thai government on the business opportunities in Southeast Asia,” said Mr Bohigian.

“The dynamism in Southeast Asian growth that we’ve seen is very impressive, as is the economic reform being undertaking by the Thai government. We hope to see continuity of infrastructure connectivity development.”

Sin Chanthy, president of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association, told Khmer Times that enhancing connectivity in the region is key to economic development.

“We need better infrastructure to expand trade with our neighbours. Our government, with their 2015-2025 Industrial Development Policy, is already prioritising the development of the infrastructure and logistics sectors,” Mr Chanthy said.

“Focusing on cross-border infrastructure and logistics will enhance connectivity and boost trade, which will help the government achieve its goal of increasing trade with Thailand to $15 million by 2020.”

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