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

New Association seeks to improve rice market

July 14th, 2014 , VOA Khmer

Cambodian farmers are looking toward a new organization to help them get the best prices for their rice, but many are skeptical disparities between farmers and traders can be overcome.

The Cambodian Rice Federation was started in May, bringing together disparate companies, associations and farmers in a bid to stabilize market forces that have traditionally left farmers vulnerable.

Sitting in the shade of a palm tree one recent afternoon, farmer Phan Chantol said he has received little help from previous associations. …

Suy Heimkhemra

Global brands linked to latest shamed garment factory

July 14th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Italian sportswear brand Kappa and U.S.-based retail giant Walmart apparently source clothing from the latest addition to the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) list of low-compliance factories, according to a union leader at the factory who provided the branded tags from the clothing her members cut and stitch.

Hung Tak Garment factory was last week added to the “lowest compliance” category of the ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) transparency index. BFC inspectors identified 19 areas in which the factory did not meet basic standards, including illegal wage deductions and the failure to grant annual leave or pay for sick leave. …

Sun Heng and Holly Robertson

Four years on, arbitration center a step closer to taking cases

July 12th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Nearly four years after it was established by the Commerce Ministry and one year on from its official launch, the National Commercial Arbitration Center (NCAC) held its first annual assembly Friday.

The NCAC was set up in 2010 to provide businesses with an alternative to the courts system to resolve commercial disputes, but to date has not heard a single case.

Ros Monin, president of the NCAC, told those in attendance at Friday’s event that it was being held to adopt an annual budget for the organization and to agree on rules and procedures. …

Ang Sothear and Holly Robertson

Berjaya Food share rises after Cambodia unit formed

July 10th, 2014 , Free Malaysia Today

Berjaya Food Bhd’s share on Bursa Malaysia rose in early trade today following the announcement yesterday that it had incorporated a new subsidiary in Cambodia.

As at 9.57am, the counter rose four sen or 2.45% to RM1.67, after opening at RM1.64, with 47,000 shares changing hands. …

Free Malaysia Today News

Sokha Hotel expected to open by september

July 8th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The $100 million Sokha Hotel and Residence on Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva peninsula will be ready to receive its first guest by September, and recruitment is under way for more than 1,000 employees, the hotel’s owner said Monday.

“We plan to open in September as a trial,” said Sok Kong, founder and president of the Sokimex Group, which operates the country’s Sokha Hotels and Resorts chain. “We are doing interviews with 1,000 people. We need about 1,500 employees.” …

Joshua Wilwohl

Commerce minister, US Ambassador swap praise after trade trip

July 8th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

U.S. Ambassador William Todd and Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol praised each other for their dedication to the development of the Cambodian economy at a press conference in Phnom Penh on Monday, following a joint trade mission last month to the U.S.

Mr. Todd and Mr. Chanthol, who was promoted to his position after last year’s disputed national election, visited Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle and Washington between June 16 and 20 in order to coax U.S.-owned companies to invest in Cambodia. …

At the press conference, Mr. Chanthol recounted Mr. Todd’s verve in organizing a number of meetings with firms including Chevron, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and General Electric, where Mr. Chanthol served as an executive before returning to Cambodia in 1994. …

Alex Willemyns

Boost for Cambodia’s tourism

July 7th, 2014 , TTR Weekly

Cambodia’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, says Asia Atlantic Airlines’ upcoming flights that will connect Thailand, Cambodia and Japan will benefit the country’s tourism industry.

The airline will fly from Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and stop in Phnom Penh before flying to Toyko’ Narita, with full traffic rights.

The three weekly flights start 2 September and a service stopping in Siem Reap with four weekly flights will start 1 October. …

Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit

Mobile Food shops to become more popular

July 7th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

Mobile food shops, which are part of services provided by Neat Educational Information Center (NEIC), have first emerged in the middle of Phnom Penh Capital City. These mobile canteens are attracting a lot of customers and have helped create jobs for students who are facing difficulties.

Two three-wheeled trucks adorned with attractive decoration and highly hygienic first appeared in Phnom Penh, and are known by their customers as mobile food shops. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Illegal Ratanakkiri gem mine raided

July 7th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

District and military police in Ratanakkiri raided an illegal gem mine inside a Chinese company’s land concession on Saturday but failed to make any arrests, according to a rights group representative.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for Adhoc, said about 200 illegal gem miners had settled on an old rubber plantation granted to the Swift Rubber Company in Laminh commune’s Trum village. …

Phak Seangly