Photo of Ambassador Hor Nam Bora with the incoming ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh at the London Asia House
ASEAN Chair 2012 Brings New Business and Other Opportunities - By Ambassador
Hor Nam Bora
Cambodia is greatly honored and proud to assume the chairmanship of
ASEAN in 2012 with ownership and high responsibility in order to make
contribution towards realizing our common goal which is the establishment
of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. It was actually the second time
Cambodia had assumed the top position in ASEAN, and taken possession of
the rotating chairmanship.
Most experts agree than on the economic side, the time in the spotlight
was good for the Kingdom and will likely provide a boost to investment
and the economy. On the political side, Cambodia did the best it could
in a difficult situation on the contentious matter of the South China
Sea, and it is fair enough to say that there was no consensus within ASEAN.
One significant benefit was the US-ASEAN Business Forum in July, attended
by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was the largest event of
its kind and brought nearly 200 American companies to a meeting in Siem
Reap to look at investment possibilities, including big players like Chevron,
General Electric, Cisco and Dell. While few concrete deals were signed,
the event strengthened economic ties between Phnom Penh and Washington.
In November, another business summit attracted about 1,000 participants
and gave Prime Minister Hun Sen and Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh the
occasion to deliver messages to investors about Cambodia’s benefits,
including political stability, incentive programs and a generally friendly
environment for business.
According to Chheang Vannarith, executive director of Cambodia Institute
for Cooperation and Peace, Cambodia also benefited from representing ASEAN
at the G20 summit in Mexico in June. The summit discussed some issues
like strengthening the international financial system and regulation,
food price volatility, green growth, greater investment in scientific,
agriculture and technology. Cambodia’s participation in such a high-profile
event would raise awareness of and trust in the Kingdom, he said, which
would likely result in increased investment inflows and trade.
Overall, the results for Cambodia’s ASEAN year look fair and good.
The spotlight on the country highlighted new business possibilities, brought
potential new investors into the country and put the Kingdom on the radar
screen of others, so most see that as a success.
At the concluding press conference after the final summit in November
had concluded, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the year had been a very successful
one for Cambodia as Chair of ASEAN.