Newly re-elected US President Barack Obama will attend a series of top-level Asian meetings next week, with Cambodia hosting an Asean summit, and China in attendance with new leadership. The high-profile meetings will present challenges for the US president, whose administration has become more deeply involved in the region and its troubles.
That includes growing Chinese influence and what many see as sliding human rights and freedoms in Cambodia.
For Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, that means a chance to demonstrate a balanced foreign policy toward both the US and China. …
November 14th, 2012, The Phnom Penh Post, Banking & Finance, Business & Commercial Development, Economics, Exports, Financial Services, Imports, Industry, International Relations, Technical Assistance, Trade
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the OPEC Fund for International Development have signed an agreement to support trade in emerging Asian countries under the ADB’s Trade Finance Program, according to a news release.
The risk distribution agreement will support a projected incremental trade flow between US$800 million and $1.2 billion in countries with limited financing from priv-ate financial institutions…
Steven Beck, a senior investment specialist in ADB’s private sector operations department, said TFP currently works with ACLEDA bank in Cambodia to support trade and SMEs in the country. …
The World Bank and Japan will promote Thailand as the insurance centre of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to help develop the industry in neighbouring countries and provide professional services to the more advanced economies.
The move is also expected to upgrade the insurance industries in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia to be compatible with Thailand’s and in line with the policies of this country’s Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC)…
Technical assistance, including knowledge and information, will be provided by the bank to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, where insurance development is slower. …
November 14th, 2012, The Cambodia Daily, Business & Commercial Development, Disputed Land, Domestic Investment, Economic Land Concessions, Economics, Exports, Farmland, Foreign Aid, Foreign Investment, Forests, Garment Industry, Imports, Industry, International Relations, Land Tenure, News Source, Technical Assistance, Tourism, Trade
Kratie province – Cambodia’s transformation from war-torn basket-case to one of Asia’s most promising emerging economies is being overshadowed by a backwards lurch in human rights and land policies that critics say are entrenching poverty.
Next week’s visit by Barack Obama, the fist by a U.S. president, will in some ways set the seal on the emergence of Cambodia’s $13 billion economy under Prime Minister Hun Sen as it draws unprecedented interest from investors. It’s garment export industry is booming, tourist numbers are surging and low-end manufacturing is taking off as companies seek a cheaper alternative to China. Phnom Penh is being transformed by plush new buildings and luxury imported cars. …
Stuart Grudgings and Prak Chan Thul, P.1
Some of the U.S.’ most senior lawmakers are urging Barack Obama to speak out on what they called Cambodia’s deteriorating human rights situation when the U.S. president makes what will be the first visit to the country by a sitting American leader later this month. …
In their October 31 letter to Mr. Obama, 12 U.S. lawmakers—including Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain—warn that keeping silent on Cambodia’s human rights record would play into China’s hands.
“By taking a strong and public stand in support of human rights and democracy during this first-time visit by a U.S. president to Cambodia, your words would encourage and embolden the Cambodian people and send a clear message to the entire region about American values and expectations, particularly in the wake of the Arab Spring,” they said.
November 13th, 2012, The Cambodia Daily, Business & Commercial Development, Domestic Investment, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Investment, International Relations, News Source, Technical Assistance, Trade
The leaders of two of Cambodia’s biggest donors, China and Japan, will attend the up coming Asean and East Asia summits in Phnom Penh next week, Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed during a speech in Siem Reap province yesterday.
“China Prime Minister [Wen Jiabao] will arrive for an official visit on November 18, and Japanese Prime Minister [Yoshihiko Noda] will come for the summits on November 20,” Mr. Hun Sen said during the speech in Banteay Srei district, the latest stop on his nationwide land-title distribution tour. …
Khy Sovuthy, P.17
On his first foreign trip since Tuesday’s election, US President Barack Obama is planning a historic visit to encourage reforms in Myanmar – seen as a key success during his first term – and he’ll also go to Thailand and Cambodia.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will also head to Asia this month. While the timing is coincidental – Obama is attending the East Asia Summit in Cambodia – experts saw a powerful sign. …
But Walter Lohman, director of the Asian studies centre at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said the US election and China’s leadership changes would not change the dynamics in ties between the world’s top two economies. …
‘Had he gone to Cambodia, a place that the Thais have had some ups and downs with, and not gone to see the US allies in Thailand, it would have been a disaster,’ Lohman said.
An NGO has plans to supply clean water to 60 rural provinces between 2013 and 2016 in an effort to increase access to water and meet the demand of their citizens.
Chai Lo, the founder and country director of 1001 Fontaines, said at the opening of its headquarters last week that since the beginning of the project in 2005, the organisation had installed 62 treatment stations to provide clean water in a number of Cambodian provinces.
The supply of clean water has been distributed to tens of thousands of people in several provinces. …
November 9th, 2012, The Cambodia Daily, Business & Commercial Development, Economics, Exports, Foreign Aid, Foreign Investment, Imports, International Relations, News Source, Technical Assistance, Trade
Prime Minister Hun Sen will hold bilateral talks with U.S. President Barack Obama when the newly re-elected American leader visits Phnom Penh during this month’s East Asia and Asean Summits.
Mr. Hun Sen announced the bilateral meeting in a letter to Mr. Obama on Wednesday congratulating him on winning the presidential election. Mr. Obama, who is expected to be in Phnom Penh between November 18 and 21, will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cambodia. …
Anti-eviction protesters set up camp in front of the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh for a second day yesterday, but ended their protest in the early evening when a petition to U.S. President Barack Obama was taken into the diplomatic mission by an embassy guard.
“The U.S. Embassy security guard came out and received our petition to be delivered to the ambassador,” said Tep Vanny, a resident of the Boeng Kak area, where mass evictions have taken place in recent years. …
Khuon Narim and Joshua Wilwohl
November 9th, 2012, The Cambodia Daily, Agriculture & Agri-business, Agro-Industry, Disputed Land, Economic Land Concessions, Economics, Environment & Natural Resources, Environmental change, Farming, Farmland, Foreign Aid, Forests, Land Tenure, News Source, Protected Areas, Technical Assistance, Timber/Wood
Six months after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered a moratorium on the granting of economic land concessions (ELCs) and a legal review of the concessions that already exist, the Agriculture Ministry has yet to begin the review process due to rain, and the danger of leeches.
Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun, whose ministry has approved the majority of the country’s more than 200 ELCs, which cover about 2 million hectares, said that the reviews ordered by Mr. Hun Sen had not yet begun, but they start later this month.
“We are scheduled to start on November 15,” the minister said yesterday.
Aun Pheap and Zsombor Peter, P.1
As Barack Obama was declared president of the United States for a second term yesterday, about 50 anti-eviction protesters for the Boeng Kak and Borei Keila communities camped out in front of the U.S. Embassy and appealed for the president’s help in addressing land rights when he visits Phnom Penh later this month.
But hours after the camp was established, roughly 100 riot police with batons and shields moved in under the cover of darkness and removed the peaceful protesters.
“We have come here to congratulate President Obama on his win, and we ask him to intervene and release our activists who are in prison,” said Boeng Kok resident Bouv Sophea, as she and other evictees knelt and prayed outside the embassy holding a large picture of Mr. Obama. …
Khuon Narim and Joshua Wilwohl
The Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), a coalition of the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, stands to gain about 30 percent of the vote if it decides to stand against the ruling CPP in next year’s national elections, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections (Comfrel) said in a report released yesterday.
The projection was based on voting trends from the June 3 commune elections, compiled by Comfrel, which saw a huge victory for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP. …
Lauren Crothers, P.15
With less than two weeks until Asean leaders meet in Phnom Penh to consider approval of the region’s first human rights declaration, international NGOs yesterday urged them to postpone passing what they are calling a “deeply flawed” document. …
“In the current form, the [Asean Human Rights] Declaration falls short of existing international human rights standards and risks creating a sub-standard level of human rights protection in the region,” Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House and several other NGOs said in a joint statement. …
Zsombor Peter, P. 18
A week after the European Parliament issued a damning resolution on Cambodia’s human-rights situation and called for a revoking of trade privileges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has shot back.
“It is essential for the EU parliament to study and better understand the situation before passing any such wrong and biased resolution in the future,” reads a letter to the president of the European Parliament from So Soengha, charge d’affaires at the Cambodian embassy in Brussels…