Manila-Phnom Penh Consensus

Cambodia and the Philippines are seeking ways to increase mutual trade and investment amid the Philippine leader’s recent visit to the Kingdom.

Kith Meng, president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of his two-day state visit to the Kingdom, according to CCC vice president Lim Heng.

“In the meeting, the two sides discussed boosting mutual investment between Cambodia and the Philippines,” Mr. Heng said yesterday. 

The meeting also pushed for both sides to better understand each other, Mr. Heng said, and added that Mr. Duterte wanted to meet with members of Cambodia’s private sector to show them potential sectors for investment in his country. 

“We are in the same Asean community. We want Filipino investors to come here because we have favorable free-tax status in markets including EU and America,” he said. “So they can see this favorable aspect of Cambodia. 

“For the Philippines, we want to seek opportunities and know what sectors our investors should invest in there.”

The two sides also discussed facilitating the transfer of money in and out of the country and some legal procedures, Mr. Heng said, adding that it was just the beginning. They agreed to have more meetings in the near future with the private sector and government leaders.

“We have not yet seen the potential investment sectors in the Philippines. However he suggested the agriculture, real estate and construction sectors and if we go, he will support us,” Mr. Heng said.

The two sides also discussed having a direct flight from the Philippines to Phnom Penh, the CCC president added.

Wanda Teo, the Philippine’s tourism secretary, was quoted by Philippine media as saying having direct flights between the two countries could possibly balance out the number of Cambodian tourists visiting the Philippines.

According to Ms. Teo, only 2,000 to 3,000 Cambodians visit the Philippines a year compared with the 70,000 Filipinos visiting the Kingdom annually.

Ms. Teo said she was coordinating with airlines to launch direct flights to Phnom Penh. Budget airline Cebu Pacific already offers direct flights from Manila to Siem Reap, where the world famous Angkor Archaeological Park is located. 

Cambodia Airlines was first unveiled in April 2013 as a joint venture between Philippine Airlines (PAL), which was controlled by the San Miguel Corporation between 2012 and 2014, and the Royal Group.

The two shareholders said they planned to launch the new carrier in the domestic market in June of that year. 

A senior aviation official told Khmer Times last year that PAL had withdrawn from its planned joint venture to launch Cambodia Airlines but said the Royal Group was looking for a new partner.  

According to data from Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, some 88,192 Filipino tourists visited over the first 10 months of this year, a nearly 30 percent rise from the 67,877 who visited over the same period last year.  

Mr. Duterte wrapped up his visit to Cambodia on Wednesday evening, taking with him agreements inked with Cambodia concerning transnational crime, labor, sports cooperation and tourism.

Source: http://www.khmertimeskh.com/news/33221/manila-phnom-penh-consensus/