Trade and investment between Singapore, Cambodia set to flourish: President Tony Tan Keng Yam

Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (centre-left) and Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni walk down the stair after a meeting at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh on Jan 9, 2017.
Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (centre-left) and Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni walk down the stair after a meeting at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh on Jan 9, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

PHNOM PENH - Bilateral trade and investment flows between Singapore and Cambodia are healthy - and look set to flourish further in the coming years.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam, at a royal banquet held in his honour by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, noted that Singaporean investors continue to look for new opportunities in Cambodia to meet today's challenges.

He cited agriculture and property firm HLH Group, which is developing affordable quality housing in the Cambodian port city of Sihanoukville, and solar company Sunseap Group, which will build the first large-scale solar farm project in Cambodia's Svay Rieng province.

Dr Tan, who is on a four-day state visit to Cambodia, also cited the avoidance of double taxation agreement signed by both countries last year, which aims to help reduce the costs of doing business.

"When ratified, the agreement will make it even easier for our companies to do business with each other," he said in his speech at the grand Royal Palace last night.

 

In 2015, Singapore was Cambodia's eighth largest trading partner and third largest investor.

The Singaporean community in Cambodia, he added, come from all walks of life, from young entrepreneurs to veteran businessmen: "They all believe in Cambodia's long-term potential."

The two countries are also well-connected by 43 weekly flights that link Singapore to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. In 2015, Singapore received nearly 50,000 Cambodian visitors, while over 67,000 Singaporeans visited Cambodia.

"Singapore was an early believer in Siem Reap's potential as a hub for visitors to Cambodia, and supported greater air connectivity to open up Siem Reap," said Dr Tan.

"Today, I am happy to see that Siem Reap is a bustling destination, with some 2 million visitors to Angkor Wat in 2015."

He and his wife Mary look forward to visiting Siem Reap on Tuesday and taking in the famed temples of the ancient Angkor civilisation, he added.

Technical cooperation and educational exchanges form another important pillar of the relationship between both countries.

More than 12,800 Cambodian officials have attended training courses under the Singapore Cooperation Programme since it was started in 1992.

"Like Cambodia, Singapore believes that human resource development is an essential ingredient for growth," said Dr Tan. And Singapore, he added, will continue to support Cambodia's human resource development.

Beyond bilateral cooperation, the two Asean member countries also share an interest in building a united Asean Community, and maintaining peace and stability in the region.

Dr Tan also paid tribute to the enduring friendship between both countries.

He said that at an audience with Queen Mother Norodom Monineath earlier in the day, he recalled with fondness the close relationship between founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and Cambodian King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who died in 2012.