After the successful completion of the first seminar on Cambodia Investment held in Osaka in 25th July 2012, another seminar was held at the convention hall in the Prince Park Tower Tokyo Hotel in Tokyo on 27th July 2012. Crowded with the participation of as many as 430, the seminar started at 13:30 (Japan time) and ended at 16:30 on the same day. The seminar chaired by H.E Mr. SOK Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Secretary General of Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) was the result of the cooperation between the CDC and ASEAN-Japan Center, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
The seminar was commenced by the opening remarks of Mr. Yoshikuni Ohnishi, secretary general of ASEAN-Japan Center followed by the remark of Cambodian ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Japan, H.E Mr. Hor Monirath, and that of Ms. Kyoko Kuwajima, director general of Industrial Development and Public Policy Department of JICA.
Following the opening remarks, there were presentations made by H.E SOK Chenda Sophea, Mr. Yuji Imamura, JICA advisor on investment environment improvement to CDC, and Mr. Kiyotaka Doho, representative of JETRO Phnom Penh Office and secretary of Japan Business Association of Cambodia (JBAC).
Subsequently, representatives of Japanese operating companies in Cambodia also shared the floor in presenting to the audiences the current investment climate and their investing activities in Cambodia. Those representatives included: Mr. Shinobu Washizawa, general manager of Cambodia representative office of AEON Co., Ltd., Mr.Shinichi Kamemoto, President of Sumi (Cambodia) Wiring System Co., Ltd. Mr.Toru Mitsunaka, Senior Managing Director of SWANY Cooperation, Mr. Takatomo Ito, Chief Representative of Phnom Penh.
In his presentation, the Secretary General explained to the Japanese business people that there were a number of reasons for Japanese companies to consider investing in Cambodia in comparison to its neighbors. He pointed out that Cambodian’s open economy, sound macroeconomic environment, competitive investment incentives, one-stop window and service, low labor costs, strategic location of Cambodia, preferential trading status that Cambodia gets from other countries and its access to ASEAN and the world’s markets made Cambodia the most appropriate country for Japanese investments.
In addition to the above-mentioned reasons for investing in Cambodia, the Secretary General pointed out to the participants that Japanese companies should also consider other advantages for investing in Cambodia, such as the investment incentives and the assurance of equal treatment on national and foreign investments that Cambodian investment law provided
Under the investment law of Cambodia, all investors, without any distinction between national and foreign ones, are equally treated and protected. The law requires no local equity participation; thus, foreign investors can put up to 100% of their capital in an investment project. The law guarantees the non-control on the pricing of the products and services made and provided by any company, as well as the assurance that there is no restriction on forex convertibility and the free remittance of foreign currencies abroad. A part from these benefits, the investors may also enjoy up to 9 years of tax holidays and full import duty exemption provided by the government of Cambodia.
While acknowledging the relatively small size of the domestic market in comparison to the others in the region, Mr. SOK Chenda Sophea pointed out that the preferential trading status and the access of Cambodian-made products to the ASEAN’s and world’s markets would give Japanese investors another main reason to invest in Cambodia. The Secretary General made it clear to the participants that under the leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the government highly valued the close cooperation with the private sectors in improving the investment environment in Cambodia and developing a stronger economy. For such a reason, the Government-Private Sector Forum was established to enable all investors in Cambodia to directly raise their concerns and demands to the government.
It is noticeable that since second half of 2011, Japanese investments in Cambodia have sharply increased, meanwhile more investors are interested in visiting Cambodia to seek for the investment opportunities. Giant Japanese companies such as AEON Co., Ltd and Sumi (Cambodia) Wiring System Co., Ltd have already located their businesses in Cambodia.
After the seminar, a number of participants showed interested in visiting Cambodia and to learn the real situation rather than just depending on the hearsay news that they had so far received.