News / Asia

Cambodian Minister Vows ‘Meaningful’ Reforms to US Investors

Cambodian Minister Vows ‘Meaningful’ Reforms to US Investorsi
X
June 26, 2014 6:14 PM
Cambodian Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol has concluded a trade mission to the United States during which he emphasized his government’s willingness to make “deep” reforms to improve its investment climate. VOA's Sophat Soeung spoke with the minister and has this report.
Sophat Soeung

Cambodian Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol has concluded a trade mission to the United States during which he emphasized his government’s willingness to make “deep” reforms to improve its investment climate. 

After visits to Los Angeles and Seattle, Minister Sun Chanthol capped off his week-long tour with an appearance in Washington, where he spoke about his government's recent anti-corruption efforts.

“We carry out these reforms to help investors so that there will be less informal costs, less transportation costs, less energy costs, and [we will] train our people to have better skills," he said.

He said the new-found political will to make reforms is due to last year’s general election -- in which the ruling Cambodian People’s Party lost a significant number of seats in parliament along with opposition allegations of vote fraud.
 
Alex Feldman, president and CEO of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, says investment interest in Cambodia has grown steadily. But he said investors need more evidence of reform.

“What the minister was talking about today was all very positive and all things that will attract business," he said. "We have seen progress.  It’s probably not been as much as the U.S. investors or the government would like.  Hopefully, this time we make more progress.  But we’ll have to wait and see.”

Feldman says Cambodia should continue to improve infrastructure, improve the skill base of its citizens and fight corruption.
 
In 2013, Transparency International named Cambodia the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia.
 
But Sun Chanthol says Phnom Penh has taken “unprecedented” steps toward reform, including passing an anti-corruption law and creating an anti-corruption unit.
 
Nevertheless, Storm Tiv, a senior associate for the Asia division at Human Rights Watch, told VOA that while anti-corruption efforts have increased, the lack of transparency in the process will make them ineffective.  

“The lack of the ability to publicly disclose the assets of ministers keeps corruption as an issue," he said. "And so unless assets are publicly disclosed, corruption is still going to be an issue.  The existence of an anti-corruption unit, then, doesn’t seem to show any real difference in how Cambodia addresses corruption.”

Participants in the minister’s discussions in Washington seemed cautiously optimistic about Cambodia’s reform plans.  But they said it's too soon to tell if those promises will actually materialize.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid