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2019 Business Highlights

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Tourists at Angkor Wat. The number of visitors to the Kingdom was at a record high. KT/Khem Sovannara

Business

Ministry records another tourist arrival high

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) recorded an 11.2 percent hike in the first seven months of 2019 in Cambodia with an increase of 27.9 percent year-on-year in tourist arrivals at Phnom Penh. Tourist arrivals in coastal areas also saw a hike of 31.9 percent. Meanwhile ecotourism areas saw an increase of 9.4 percent year-on-year.

2018 saw the tourism sector add 12.7 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), earning a gross revenue of $4.35 billion.

 

Royal Government passes e-commerce draft bills

The Cambodian government gave its approval to the draft laws on e-commerce and consumer protection. The laws were aimed at facilitating and regulating online business operation for investors and consumers as well as to protect the benefits of consumers and promote healthy competition among businesses.

 

KrisEnergy on full steam ahead for first oil production in 2020

Workers at the development of facilities for a wellhead platform off Cambodia. KrisEnergy

Independent oil and gas company, Kris Energy began work on development of facilities for a wellhead platform off Cambodia late in 2019. The progress is evident of the Kingdom’s efforts to getting close to becoming an oil-producing nation. Apsara oil is scheduled to flow in the first half of next year and the field is expected to reach peak rate of 7,500 barrels of oil per day.

 

IMF concludes Article IV consultation with Cambodia expecting 7 percent GDP growth this year

Deputy division chief of IMF’s Asia Pacific Department (APD) ,Jarkko Turunen, prepares to deliver a briefing on his report as the mission concludes. KT/Poovenraj Kanagaraj

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded its Article IV consultation with Cambodia. The consultation concludes with GDP growth expected to grow at around 7 percent because of continuing export growth and strong construction while inflation is expected to remain stable at around 2.5 percent.

Prime Minister Hun Sen was set to introduce new investment laws to boost investments

Prime minister Hun Sen gives a speech at a bilateral investment and trade forum held in Hanoi. Facebook page

Prime Minister Hun Sen was set to introduce two new laws to promote special economic zones and establish a transparent system for investments in the country. The move to introduce an open policy for investors to enter Cambodian markets came as the Royal Government was aiming to transform the Kingdom into a high-middle income country by 2030. In the period of 2016 to August 2019. The Council for the Development of Cambodia had 831 investment projects with a total investment capital of $22.5 billion.

 

Bilateral trade with between Cambodia and allies continued to top records

South Korea and Cambodia’s bilateral trade was set to reach $1 billion this year while the same value applied to Cambodia and Turkey as well with both countries pledging to boost trade and investments to $1 billion annually. The bilateral trade relationship between Japan and the Kingdom also reached $1.9 billion this year demonstrating an increase of 0.44 percent compared with the previous year.

Public-Private Sector forum unveils measures to facilitate trade

The 17th Government-Private Sector Forum at peace palace. Facebook page

The Public-Private Sector Forum that took place in March 2019 unveiled a number of measures to facilitate trade and lower the cost of doing businesses. One of the measures was ceasing the issuance of Certificates of Origin (CO) for the export of goods unless importing countries needed one.

The government also announced in the forum that they will withdraw the inspection role of the Cambodia Import-Export and Fraud Repression Directorate General (Camcontrol) at the international gateways, which include border crossings such as checkpoints, seaports, special economic zones, and other export and import inspection zones in Cambodia.

 

Reduction of logistics costs at the Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville Autonomous Ports

Containers at Sihanoukville Autonomous Ports. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The government had announced the reduction of logistics costs which would include the loading costs and services fees at both the Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville Autonomous Ports. The service fees would include the Terminal Handling Charge (THC) which was reduced by $5 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) and the Container Imbalance Charge(CIC) which was reduced by $20, where the fees went from $120 to $100.

Furthermore, the Emergency Bunker Charger was eliminated and lift-on fees at Sihanoukville Port were reduced by 10 percent, the whole bonus was reduced by $5 of the charge. Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh Port was considering reducing the stevedoring charge, the gate fee, and the export container charge as well as the lift on- lift-off scan fee.

 

Reduction of number of holidays

Starting 2020, the number of official holidays will be reduced by six resulting in 22 days of holiday next year instead of 28 days. The move came as response to complaints from investors in order to make the Kingdom more attractive for both local and international businesses.

The move is estimated to result in 0.5 percent gain in economic growth for the Kingdom.

 

Tax department sees biggest collection to date

Kong Vibol, General Department of Taxation Director. KT/Chor Sokunthea

General Department of Taxation Director General Kong Vibol announced during the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) organised tax forum that the tax collection target for 2019 was exceeded by 5 percent.

Cambodia’s tax collection revenue increased at an average of 20 percent annually over the last five years while the first six months of this year saw a tax revenue collection of $1.5 billion resulting in a 66 percent jump from the same period last year.

Solar to make up 15 percent of local energy production

A solar farm in Kampong Speu province. EDC

The government is expecting solar panels in the Kingdom to generate 15 percent of all energy produced in the country in 2020. Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) expects solar panels to be producing at least 390 megawatts from solar panels.

Energy demand in the Kingdom increased by 50 percent during the first of half the year because of the increase in construction projects and investments,  with the country consuming 2,650 megawatts in the 2018, a 15 percent increase from the energy consumption in 2017.

 

Royal Government supports small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through an SME Bank

A woman weaving for a small enterprise in Cambodia. Small and medium enterprises received a royal boost. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The government has budgeted $100 million to fund the Small Medium Enterprise Bank in order to support small and medium enterprise (SMEs) businesses in the Kingdom. The bank once online is expected to conduct workshops to help firms use loans in the best way.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts, Cambodia has more than 520,000 SMEs. However, only 150,000 are registered. The SME Bank will be focusing on several sectors including manufacturing, tourism, food processing as well as tech startups.

Along with the introduction of the SME Bank, SMEs will be supported with entrepreneurship funds with a budget of $100 million and SME tax incentives for six priority sectors, related to agro-industry and food production and processing.

 

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