The 12th Cambodia – Japan Public – Private Sector Meeting was held On July 29th 2015, at the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC). There was 150 participants from relevant ministries of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Japanese Embassy to Cambodia, JICA, JETRO, and Japanese firms in Cambodia. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Secretary General of the CDC, and H.E. Yuji Kumamaru, Ambassador of Japan to Cambodia.
This dialogue mechanism was created under the framework of the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Cambodia and Japan which was signed by Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 14th 2007. The meeting provides an opportunity for the Cambodian government’s agencies and Japanese investors to address the challenges the later are facing.
The 12th Cambodia – Japan Public – Private Sector Meeting has discussed several major issues: (1) the steep increase of minimum wage while the improvement of productivity is limited. Investors understand that there is a need to increase minimum wage but requested for such increase to be done at a reasonable rate in order to maintain competitiveness of Cambodian manufacturing sector. (2) the high cost and instability of electricity supply in Cambodia and (3) the drafting of Law on Labor Union which would complement the existing Labor Law in ensuring activities of labor unions under the rule of law and harmony of industrial relations. The meeting also exchanged idea on other topics related to taxation, environment, and Law on Investment.
It is noteworthy that, as of June 2015, Cambodia has welcomed 99 investment projects from Japan with total investment capital of almost 700 million US Dollar of which 67 projects with investment capital of around 280 million US Dollar are located inside special economic zones. Moreover, the number of Japanese restaurants have gone up to around 150. The presence of Japanese new investment and expansion is a testimony of Japanese investors’ trust toward the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Japanese investments have contributed to the diversification of the Cambodian economy which has relied heavily on traditional sectors such as garment and footwear, agriculture and rice milling, construction, and tourism by introducing new industries including manufacturing and assembly of electronic and electrical appliance, and manufacturing of auto parts.
On behalf of the Cambodian side, H.E. Sok Chenda Sophea expressed his gratitude and appreciation to Japanese investors who always show confidence in the Royal Government of Cambodia under the strong leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and for raising their concerns and requests related to investments in order to maintain attractiveness of Cambodia. In return, H.E. Yuji Kumamaru expressed his appreciation to participants and heartfelt thanks to the CDC as well as other relevant agencies of the Royal Government of Cambodia for their support to Japanese investors. H.E. Ambassador also expressed his hope that this cooperation spirit would continue in the future.