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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora