Cambodian insurance industry has ‘Substantial potential for growth’

August 7th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

Nascent insurance markets in Cambodia, Cuba and Myanmar offer “significant opportunities” to foreign insurers, according to a US market research company.

In a statement released Wednesday, Dallas-based Market Reports Store praised Cambodia’s “bold economic reforms and economic liberalisation” since 2000. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Croc release at dam site planned

August 4th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A conservation group may release 20 baby Siamese crocodiles into the Areng Valley amid an ongoing stand-off between villagers and a Chinese firm over the construction of a controversial hydropower dam in Koh Kong province.

Tuy Serey Vathana, country directory at Fauna and Flora International, said yesterday that the group was prepared to release the endangered crocodiles despite previously saying that it would not do so unless it had assurances that the Stung Cheay Areng dam would not be built. …

Daniel Pye

Vendors see justice in arrest

August 4th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The Friday arrest of a local businesswoman who holds the municipal contract to collect parking and stall fees from markets citywide on breach of trust charges came as no surprise to many vendors, aggrieved by what they say are her unfair business practices.

Cheav Vibol, deputy director of the minor crimes department of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police Station, said yesterday that Roth Sopheap’s arrest was ordered by municipal court judge Pich Maren for alleged breaches of trust committed between 2009 and 2013. …

Khouth Sophak Chakrya

Assessing the welfare value of Cambodia’s fisheries

August 1st, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

Fish and rice are staple foods for all Cambodians. Historical records show that Cambodia’s fisheries have been of major importance for centuries. Fish is a major source of nutritious food in the daily diet, a primary source of employment and income and has strong cultural and religious significance.

 Cambodian fisheries are a major source of nutritious food in the daily diet by providing about 82% of total animal protein intake. In addition, fish also provides important micronutrients, particularly Vitamin A, calcium, iron and zinc, which are crucial for human health. Cambodians are considered one of the highest per capita consumers of fish in the world. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Maiden landing at beachside airport

July 31st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Sihanouk Ville International Airport received its first international flight this week, a landing the industry hopes will open up the coastal resort destination to more foreign tourists.

A flight by South Korea-based Skywings Asia Airlines, an international charter carrier, arrived from Seoul on Tuesday. One hundred and forty-two passengers were aboard the 180-seat Airbus 320, according to a statement from Cambodia Airports released yesterday. …

Post Staff

Cashew nut export numbers aren’t adding up: producers

July 31st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodian cashew nut exports are on the rise, yet export figures are still well below production numbers, with thousands of tonnes unaccounted for.

Unshelled cashew nut exports totalled close to $2.5 million in the first six months of the year, with 2,800 tonnes exported, a rise of 200 per cent over the same period last year, a report from the Ministry of Commerce shows. …

In Kampong Thom, the largest cashew-growing province in the country with more than 23,680 hectares under cultivation, Siv Ngy, president of Kampong Thom Cashew Nut Association, told the Post yesterday that he was sceptical of the official export figures, as average cashew nut production stands at about 70,000 tonnes per year. …

Chan Muyhong

Cambodia’s hydroelectric question: China power and the environment

July 30th, 2014 , The Diplomat

Discussion about hydroelectric power plants in Cambodia tends to focus on two aspects, both negative. One is an overdependence on Chinese investment, and the other is a relatively disproportionate focus on the environmental impacts of hydroelectric power.

Chinese Influence

Most hydroelectric power plants in Cambodia are associated in some way with China. According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Chinese companies have invested more than $1.6 billion in the construction of six dams with a total supply of 928 megawatts. Although the data might suggest the theory that Cambodia is giving preference to China in this particular field, one should also consider why other countries don’t, or don’t want to, invest. …

Sim Vireak

Bilateral investment treaties offer investment protection through arbitration

July 29th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) are intra-state legal mechanisms which encourage foreign investment.

This is particularly so as they provide foreign investors with Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms to enforce investment protections through international arbitration against the host state before a neutral tribunal.

Cambodia has signed over 20 BITs with other states thereby extending investment protection with reciprocity to Cambodian companies and individual investors with the signatory countries. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

‘A threat to Cambodia’s sacred forests’

July 28th, 2014 , New York Times

In southwest Cambodia, at the foot of the Cardamom Mountains, is a single dirt road that meanders through the heart of the pristine Areng valley. Ten miles down this road, villagers have set up an encampment to stop a hydroelectric dam project that they fear will destroy their forests, livelihood and heritage.

The Chong people, who are considered Khmer Daem (or original Khmers), have lived in this valley for over 600 years. They grow rice, forage for roots and mushrooms, and fish in the streams and river. In March, a group of young monks traveled over 150 miles from Phnom Penh, the capital, to help them in their campaign to protect the forest, which they consider sacred. …

New York Times News Staff

Anglers ‘invading’: Villagers say rivals taking over fish lot

July 25th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

More than 200 residents from seven villages in Ratanakkiri province’s Taveng district have filed a complaint to the local Administrative Fisheries Department and two right groups over claims that rival anglers in the area are collecting fish in their protected lot by poisoning the catch. …

Phak Seangly

Telecom law outrage

July 25th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s telecom sector is outraged over a draft law handed down by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC) on Wednesday, which details a government plan to assert control over the industry.

In what is being labeled an “unprecedented, draconian” effort to nationalise the industry, the draft law states that no company can both operate infrastructure assets, such as antenna towers and underground cables, and also provide services, such as mobile and data plans.

If the draft law is approved, telecom companies that opt to retain their retail operations will be forced to sell off their infrastructure assets and rely on government-controlled infrastructure providers. …

Eddie Morton

ICT federation launched in Cambodia

July 24th, 2014 , Shanghai Daily

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Federation was inaugurated here on Thursday with an aim to advance Cambodia to a digital age, officials said.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Kan Chanmeta, secretary of state of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, said the federation would be a main partner to work with the ministry in developing the ICT industry in Cambodia. …

Shanghai Daily News Staff

Price woes fuel corn farmers’ fears of lackluster sales

July 23rd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Corn farmers and dealers in the country’s northwestern provinces fear a decline in sales this season as local storage facilities become increasingly scarce and demand from Thai importers declines.

Khun Thorn, president of Ta Sdar Samky Farmer Community in Battambang province, told the Post yesterday that corn prices had sunk to 600 riel per kilogram this year, down 40 per cent from 1,000 riel last year.

Thorn said the price slump was a result of importing processes in Thailand becoming stricter and fewer people operating storage facilities. …

Chan Muyhong

Deadlock end lifts business spirits

July 23rd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s business community welcomed the news yesterday that the county’s longest-ever parliamentary deadlock had come to an end – a resolution investors say will help ease fears of political instability.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party yesterday struck a deal that will see the CNRP take its seats in the National Assembly as early as next week, after its lawmakers-elect are officially sworn in.

“With the big news this afternoon, Cambodia will win back all listed stability and of course will attract more investors who currently are waiting,” In Channy, CEO of Cambodia’s largest financial firm, Acleda Bank, said after hearing yesterday’s announcement. …

Eddie Morton and Daniel de Carteret

Cambodia is perfectly positioned to become a solar powerhouse

July 21st, 2014 , Next City

Phnom Penh’s first solar-powered building looks for all the world like a cube of colored Lego blocks dropped in a factory lot on the city’s industrial outskirts. Covered in some 1,350 solar panels — including large panes of multi-colored solar glass — the three-story building has the capacity to produce up to 135 kilowatts of power per hour of sunlight. The roof above the building’s parking lot is covered with solar tiles, and the product showroom across the road is fronted by even more.

For Star8, the Australia-based company that inhabits this futuristic facility, it stands as a testament to the great potential of solar technology in Cambodia. “The solar radiation here is phenomenal,” says Star8’s managing director Philip Stone. “It will revitalize and bring Cambodia into the 21st century.”

You can’t accuse Star8 of aiming low. Next month, the company will launch its first Asian production hub at this futuristic factory site in Phnom Penh, turning out products like solar panels, batteries, roof tiles, solar glass and a range of innovative sun-powered contraptions. …

Sarah Goodyear

Apple to officially sell iPhones in Cambodia

July 18th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Apple Inc. on Friday will officially launch the iPhone in Cambodia through its authorized reseller, iOne, giving customers—long used to gray market iPhones—access to Apple’s warranty.

“The sales launch will be July 18…. iOne, which has the monopoly right to import Apple’s products to Cambodia’s market has officially received authorization from Apple to import the iPhone by July 18,” states a news release. …

Hul Reaksmey and Joshua Wilwohl

Firm’s Split From Boeng Kak Project Confirmed

July 17th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Chinese firm that was financially backing an ambitious project to develop Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood has pulled out, Chinese Embassy and company officials have confirmed, and no other investor appears to have taken its place.

That makes the Erdos Hongjun Investment Corporation at least the second Chinese firm to divest from the controversial project, which has forced the eviction of some 3,000 families and left a giant, barren sandpit where a lake deemed crucial to the city’s drainage once lay.

It also almost certainly leaves its erstwhile Cambodian majority partner, CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s Shukaku Inc., without the capital to follow through on its original billion-dollar plans. …

Zsombor Peter and Aun Pheap