The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Monday promised to support the expansion of Cambodian exports, particularly bicycles, during bilateral talks with the Cambodian Prime Minister in Switzerland.
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UNCTAD’s secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi made the remarks during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen a day ahead of the World Investment Forum, according to a post on Mr Hun Sen’s Facebook page.
“Cambodia is a model for other countries when it comes to development. The country has a strong will, having recently moved from least developed to a lower-middle income economy,” Mr Kituyi said according to the post. “I’m sure it will continue to grow in this manner.”
According to the Facebook post, Mr Kituyi singled out bicycles as one of the most potentially profitable exports for the Kingdom.
A recent report from bike-eu.com estimates that Cambodia exported more than 1.41 million bicycles in 2017 – an increase of 8.9 percent year-on-year. This makes the Kingdom the fifth largest exporter of the product in terms of value, behind Germany, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and China, who is the largest supplier, according to worldstopexports.com
During the meeting, Mr Hun Sen thanked UNCTAD for its pledge to support Cambodia’s economic growth and reduce the poverty rate. He said Cambodia remains open, as it has for the last two decades, for investment in strategic sectors.
“The government is working on improving soft and hard infrastructure, enhance trade and upskill the workforce to attract further investment,” the premier said.
He called on development partners to help least developed economies like Cambodia achieve sustainable development through investment.
Speaking at the World Investment Forum on Tuesday, Mr Hun Sen told an audience of more than 6,000 people that Cambodia is fully committed to working with the international community to ensure fair and open trade, as well as maintain regional and global peace, security and stability.
Mr Hun Sen said Cambodia believes globalisation promotes economic growth and reduces poverty, and said his government is devoted to enhancing global interconnectedness.
He said there is now an anti-globalisation movement generated by growing inequality among countries, creating distrust among governments and a fear of worldwide integration.
He called on all heads of state to work to protect the current global investment climate and geo-political stability, and build trust in the global financial system and the industrial sector.
“As a member of the United Nations, Cambodia is ready to work with relevant stakeholders to safeguard a free and fair trade system, and maintain regional and global peace, security and stability.
“At the same time, I would like to invite leaders, investors and companies to join us as investment partners to contribute to the development of Cambodia and to global growth,” Mr Hun Sen said.
He explained that Cambodia is now developing its vision and strategy to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country. This strategy, he said, is based on expanding the production base, building soft and hard infrastructure, reducing the cost of electricity, facilitating trade, developing the country’s human capital, embracing new technologies, improving the financial sector, and reforming the legal system and the country’s institutions.
The premier assured investors that Cambodia boasts a favorable investment climate, which, he says, has been achieved by ensuring peace, security, political and macroeconomic stability, as well as improving the legal and institutional framework.
The World Investment Forum is a biennial event organised by UNCTAD. Bringing together policymakers, as well as the private and non-profit sectors, the conference aims to promote investment for sustainable development and facilitate dialogue among all actors. This year’s edition is being held on Oct 25-28 in Geneva.
According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, FDI inflow to Cambodia increased by 12 percent in 2017, reaching a record level of $2.8 billion. Most of that investment went to the finance, telecommunications, real estate and non-textile industries.