CAMBODIA’S trade with South Korea grew 38 percent in the first half of 2011 on the same period last year, according to Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KORTA) statistics. The growth is partly due to increasing numbers of South Korean importers seeking business in Cambodia, KOTRA’s Cambdia Director General Gwang-Ho Lee said.About 600 Korean companies are now based in the Kingdom, he said. Total bilateral trade reached US$243.1 million from January to June, from $175.8 million in the same period last year, KOTRA figures show. Cambodia’s exports to South Korea increased 51 percent, hitting $34.2 million, while imports to the Kingdom rose about 37 percent to $208.9 million.
Ms Sam On, 37, has already lost her house. It was one of three homes razed in April by Kratie provincial military police, environment officials and workers of the Sovannvuthy rubber company, after a tense stand-off with about 100 villagers that villagers said ended with warning shots fired in the air. Thousands of farms and homes along National Road 76A here in Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary now await the same fate, as the government has given 10 rubber companies the rights to vast swathes of fertile and located along 30 km of the recently upgraded road, which runs from Snuol City to Mondolkiri province’s Sen Monorom City. Soon there will likely be very little forest or wildlife left to protect, as the economic land concessions – approved by the Ministry of Environment – cover most of te 60,000 hectare sanctuary.
“Bilateral trade between Cambodia and China grew about 82 percent in the first half of 2011 if comparing with the same period for last year while the two countries are trying to boost the trade ties to achieve US $2.5 billion in 2012,” Ministry of Commerce said this week. According to the report from the ministry, bilateral trade volume between Cambodia and China in the first half of 2011 reached US$912.76 million increasing over the same period with last year, which was valued at US$501 million. The total exports of Cambodia to china has grown 275 percent so far in this year with an increase from US $17.68 million to US$ 66.13 million if comparing to the same period last year. At the same time, the total export of China to Cambodia increased by 75 percent which rose from US$ 483.37 million to US$ 846.45 million).
Cambodia and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have inked the agreements to expand bilateral trade, technologies, agriculture, industry, investment
and the health sector, and both sides also are trying to boost close ties for mutual benefits while both nations’ trading has been reported to be almost at a zero point although diplomatic relations have existed for years.
The agreement was signed by H.E. Ouch Borith, Secretary of State for Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and visiting H.E. Ri Myong San Trade Vice-Minister of DPRK during the Cambodia-North Korea Joint Commission (JC) meeting conducted at the Kingdom’s Foreign Affairs
Ministry on July 27. After the signing to review, the last seven sectors on Cambodia-North Korea agreement made in 1993, H.E. Ouch Borith, told members of media that “both parties have agreed for the technology exchange in the agricultural sector.”
Seized and then sold wood has apparently been stolen from the Try PHeap Import Export Company which bought the lumber. The wood amounts to approximately 42 cubic meters and is priced at over $37,000. Blame for the theft is being cast everywhere including on the company that owns the wood as well as the police.
Environment Minister Mok Mareth yesterday defended the recent surge of economic land concessions granted by his ministry inside the country’s enviornmental conservation areas, saying that they would do more to help the areas than hurt them. Mr Mareth’s comments came while responding to questions at a news conference following a meeting in Phnom Penh between environment ministers fro Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and China to endorse a $26.5 million Asian Development Bank program aimed at limiting the environmental impact of the rapid economic development in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The minister acknowledged that some land had been lost in protected areas due to concessions, but he said that the Environment Ministry-administered parks covered a sprawling 2 million hectares of forest.
Villagers on Koh Kyong island in Preah Sihanouk province are preparing a complaint over more than 300 allegedly unlicensed fishermen who they say are illegally operating in local waters. Loung Bunny, chief of the Association for Natural Protection in Ochroy commune, said yesterday that fishermen from Vietnam’s Phú Quoc island and provinces around Cambodia were threatening local livelihoods. Fisherwoman from Koh Kyong island, 47-year-old Eang Hern, said yesterday her daily earnings had dropped from 50,000 riels (US$12) three months ago to 20,000 riels due to overfishing.
Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, has called for a “pause” on construction of hydroelectric dams along the Mekong River. She is urging time and consideration for all who would be affected by the dams, with 11 planned for the Lower Mekong, nine of which are in Laos and two in Cambodia. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has recommended a 10 year delay in projects while it gathers information on potential consequences.
Chevron partner KrisEnergy Holding Company has secured $115 million for its projects in the offshore petroleum area known as Block A . Block A is leased by Chevron Overseas Petroleum Cambodia Limited with 30 percent interest, KrisEnergy Holding Company with 25 percent, Mitsui Oil Exploration Company with 30 percent and GS Caltex with 15 percent. Together the partners are working to develop the oil discoveries and hoping to turn the area into a producing oil site.
32,000 macaques primates have been exported from Cambodia over a 4 year period according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The Species Survival Network has said that there is a significant trade in the animal and that it is most commonly used in biomedical research. A Wildlife Alliance official has said that the legal and illegal trade of the animal has grown “hugely” over recent years, yet Ministry of Agriculture deputy direct Men Soriyun has denied any illegal trade taking place.
A US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks from the Embassy in Bangkok has provided evidence that Cambodian soldiers were providing assistance and protection to loggers along the Thai-Cambodian border. Some of the loggers were killed in clashes with Thai troops. The allegations have been denied by the director of the Cambodian-Thai border relations office in Banteay Meanchey province, Dy Phen.
Ly Yong Phat and his company LYP Group have been ordered to cease all dredging operations on the Tatai river pending a review of the effects by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology. LYP Group currently has a permit to dredge seven areas of the river, but villagers and business owners have been complaining of bad smells reduced fish stocks and lack of tourists in the region as a result of the work. Other Southeast Asian countries are pushing for great ecotourism investment which the dredging is said to disrupt.
Earlier this month Prime Minister Hun Sen approved five more economic land concessions totally 44,780 hectares in the Preah Vihear province. Largely distributed to agri-business companies there is fear that the concessions will lead to deforestation. Heng Roy International, Heng You International, Lan Feng International, Ruy Feng International and Kim Chea Thuon Group were all granted concessions, that Ponlok Khmer a community natural resources organization said is likely to adversely affect locals.
Senator Ly Yong Phat, owner of the Phnom Penh Palm Sugar and Kampong Speu Sugar companies, has released a statement as a result of US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks that describe him as “The King of Koh Kong”. He answers such questions as why he wants to develop sugar plantations, international trade relations and environmental degradation. He briefly addresses the land concessions granted him and his companies, and the resulting protests.
July 13th, 2011, Extractive Industries
Initial yields from deposits in Kratie province have prompted Indochine Mining Limited to announce that they were ‘encouraging.’ Results from the drilling will be released in two weeks. The drilling was focused on two target sites within Kratie province.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has order a review of dredging operations and the impacts that they have on Cambodia’s islands and beaches. Freshwater dredging has also been ordered to go under review, with the Prime Minister calling for the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor to inspect those operations taking place near eco-tourism projects. Senator Ly Yong Phat and his company LYP have begun to scale back their own dredging projects in the Tatai river.
Fish yields have supposedly dropped by 20 to 30 percent according to fisherman, as a result of the destruction of natural marine environments such as mangroves and the increase in the number of people fishing. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries estimated the total number of tons of fish produces last year at 85,000. The ministry acknowledges the lower yields and has said that the increasing number of fisherman will not help but has yet to provide a solution.
Sixty community representatives from Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom provinces expressed concern yesterday over a string of recent economic land concessions granted within the bounds of the Boeung Per Wildlife Sanctuary. At a press conference held in Preah Vihear’s Rovieng district yesterday, they claimed the concessions were having a negative impact on the livelihoods of thousands of families living in and around the protected forest. Three of those companies, Mekong Rubber Co, Sovanpaum Co, and Try Pheap Import Export Co Ltd, have already begun clearing forest to make way for large rubber plantations, said Chut Wutty, director of the Natural Resource Protection Group NGO.