S.Korea to boost investment in Cambodia

By Ek Madra

PHNOM PENH, (Reuters) – South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pledged on Thursday to boost economic ties with Cambodia after the global economic crisis slashed its investment in the impoverished nation by more than half.

Lee said the purpose of his visit was to improve ties and encourage new South Korean companies to invest in the kingdom’s agriculture and energy sectors.

South Korea is the second-biggest source of foreign direct investment in Cambodia after China, but new investment slowed when the global economic slowdown took its toll.

‘There will be increase in economic cooperation in agriculture and others sectors to boost Cambodia’s economic growth,’ Lee said at a meeting of Cambodian and South Korean businesses.

According to South Korea’s ambassador to Cambodia, South Korea invested $2.7 billion in the country in 2007 but that figure dropped to $1.2 billion in 2008.

Two-way trade was $120 million in the first half of this year, a 58 percent decline from the same period in 2008, Ambassador Lee Kyung-soo said last week.

Investment from South Korea after 2004, mainly in garments, IT, and tourism, helped spur four years of double-digit growth in Cambodia, which is enjoying an unprecedented period of economic and political stability after decades of civil war.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen urged South Korean companies to invest in agriculture and tourism, and look into oil and gas exploration. Cambodia and neighbouring Thailand have both laid claim to offshore reserves in the Gulf of Thailand.

South Korea has also agreed loans for the country worth $200 million from 2009-2012, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters on Thursday.

Nine agreements were signed during the visit concerning cooperation in commerce, industry, mineral resources, energy and forest plantation.

Source: http://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2009-10/15267665-s-korea-to-boost-investment-in-cambodia-020.htm


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