Sunday, January 20, 2008

US mulls funding Khmer Rouge tribunal

The United States has confirmed it will consider contributing funds to Cambodia's tribunal established to try former Khmer Rouge leaders.

State Department spokesman says the department will first review all the facts about the tribunal and its operations, including whether or not it is capable of meeting international standards of justice.

A Cambodian official said earlier that Washington wants an advisory role in Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal and would consider helping fund the cash-strapped court if given the post

Already burdened by a multimillion-dollar shortfall when it opened in 2006, the tribunal is set to run out of funds by March without another cash injection from the international community.

Cambodia's UN-backed tribunal was established in July 2006 with a 56 million US dollar budget.

Vietnam-Cambodia trade set to increase 27%

Vietnam and Cambodia have set a target of increasing their two-way trade by 27% to US $2.3 billion by 2010 and to US $6.5 billion five years later.

These targets were released at a Vietnam-Cambodia border trade conference in the Mekong delta province of An Giang on January 16, which was attended by representatives from central and local governments of the two countries.

Addressing the conference, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nguyen Cam Tu said much remains to be done by the two governments, localities and businesses to achieve the target.

He also mentioned a number of difficulties in cross-border trade between the two countries, including poor transport systems, equipment and facilities.

Participants at the conference proposed that the two governments create a more convenient legal foundation for the development of cross-border trade and transport, loan provision for developing transport systems and facilities at border markets and economic zones.

They also called for the exemption of visas for people in border provinces, the simplification of import-export and investment procedures, and cooperation to build border markets and economic zones and transport systems.

Vietnam exported US $1.2 billion worth of commodities to Cambodia last year, a 6.5-fold increase of 2001. Cambodia is now Vietnam’s 16th largest importer, buying mostly home alliance, vegetables and fruits, confectionaries, plastics, cigarettes and detergent.

Vietnam is Cambodia’s third largest export market, importing chiefly home electric appliance, interior decorations, garment accessories and auto parts. (VNA)

EVN constructs two hydropower plants

Electricity of Viet Nam plans to bring Cambodia power

PHNOM PENH — The Electricity of Viet Nam will build two hydropower plants on the Se San River’s segment of the Cambodia’s Ratanakiri and K’ra Tre provinces at a cost of US$600 million, local authorities announced yesterday.

According to the Cambodian Ministry of Industry, Mines and Electricity, the two plants will be designed to have a combined capacity of 500MW, generating 2 million MW of electricity annually. A feasibility study on the plants has been completed, and construction will begin soon.

Other than satisfying Cambodia’s growing thirst for power, the two plants will also sell electricity to the southern part of Viet Nam.

Some 20 industrial zones have been built so far in Cambodia, necessitating a stable supply of electricity. Two plants were also expected to provide water for agricultural production and help reduce floods in the areas. — VNS

Cambodia to double luxury golf courses by 2010: official

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia doubled its number of luxury golf courses last year to four and hopes to have eight by 2010 in a bid to lure more high-end tourism from the fast-growing sport in Asia, officials said Thursday.

Cambodia in 2007 opened its only two PGA-rated courses in the popular tourist town on Siem Reap, in northwest Cambodia near the famed Angkor temples which remain the country's biggest draw for foreign visitors.

A third course backed by South Korean investors is expected to open in Siem Reap in 2009, said Suos Yara, secretary general of Cambodia Golf Association.

Three other multi-million-dollar golf projects are also under construction near the capital Phnom Penh and along the border with Vietnam, with another planned near the seaside resort of Sihanoukville, he told AFP.

"Golf can attract more high-yield tourists. Beside touring our heritage sites, tourists also need entertainment," he said.

"They have different hobbies, but most adults like playing golf as part of their tour package," he added.

Cambodia's profile as a golfing destination got a major boost when the Phokeethra Country Club in Siem Reap hosted the country's first international golfing event in November.

Suos Yara said the golfing industry has also contributed jobs to the local community, adding that the government wanted to eventually see at least seven courses in Siem Reap and about 10 near Sihanoukville.

"We want more golf courses ... When we have more golf course, we have more tourists and prospective investments," Suos Yara added.

Tourist arrivals to impoverished Cambodia topped two million in 2007, bringing in much-needed revenue.

But while most foreigners still flock to the Angkor temples, tourism officials are seeking to create more visitor destinations.

Cambodia plant starts up

Siam Cement Group's joint-venture cement plant in Cambodia officially started operations yesterday to tap rapid demand growth in Thailand's neighbour.

Kampot Cement (KCC), is a 90:10 joint venture between SCG and the Khaou Chuly Group, Cambodia's leading construction and engineering firm.

The joint venture company was established with investment capital of US$100 million, or 3.2 billion baht, and can produce 900,000 tonnes of Portland cement a year, according to SCG cement president Pramote Techasupatkul.

Output from the Kampot plant mainly served domestic consumption. Demand in Cambodia has grown faster than supply.

''Our additional capacity will lower the country's dependence on imported cement, which will reduce its trade deficit,'' Mr Pramote added.

The company also aims to see its production technology transferred to local operators through its contractor training programme.

SCG hopes to become a leader in Asean with heavy investments in pulp and paper, petrochemicals and cement.

Apart from Kampot, SCG's other investments in Cambodia include Cpac Cambodia, a ready-mix cement business; Cpac concrete products; Cpac Monier roofing tile products; and engine parts and lube oil from Siam Kubota Industry.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cambodia rejects Taiwan's bid to open business representative office

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government has reiterated its rejection of the so-called Taiwan External Trade Development Council's request to open a business representative office in Cambodia, local newspaper the Deum Ampil reported on Wednesday.

The council plans to open a branch in Cambodia and a number of other countries in Asia to seek new markets for Taiwanese businesses, according to the reports of Channel News Asia (CNA) on Monday.

The attempt to reopen a business representative office is impossible, said Om Yentieng, advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A Taiwanese business representative office was opened in 1993 in Cambodia but closed following factional fighting in 1997.

The Taiwan business council also plans to organize a delegation visit to promote business ties with both Cambodia and Myanmar, according to CNA.

Some 1,000 Taiwanese investors do business here, mainly in the garment sector, said Om Yentieng, adding that five shoemaking factories in Cambodia are owned by Taiwanese investors, with each employing around 8,000 to 10,000 Cambodian workers.

The Cambodian government consistently supports China's One-China policy and in July last year announced its opposition to Taiwan's bid to join the United Nations.

"There is only one China in the world, namely the People's Republic of China, and Taiwan is an integral part of China," Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong told Xinhua at the time.

Editor: Du Guodong

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

ITD part of $5bn Cambodia venture

Koh Kong plant will produce 1,830 MW


SET-listed Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), Thailand's biggest construction company, is joining with five investment partners to develop a $5-billion coal-fired power plant in Cambodia.
President Premchai Karnasuta said ITD had signed a memorandum of understanding to invest in the power plant with Egco Plc, Ratchaburi Electricity Holding Plc, Datang International (Hong Kong) Ltd and Sino Thai Resources Development Plc.
Italian-Thai Power and Energy controls the largest stake of 30% in the joint venture, Koh Kong Power Light Ltd.
The SET-listed power companies Egco Group and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc hold 20% each. China's Datang owns 15%, while Egat International, a newly established and wholly owned overseas investment unit of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, holds 8% and Sino Thai holds 7%.
Located in Laem Yai Saen in western Cambodia, Koh Kong Power Light is expected to come onstream by 2014 with an initial capacity of 1,830 megawatts. The utility is targeted to reach its maximum capacity of 3,660 MW several years later, Premchai said.
ABN Amro has conducted a financial feasibility study of the project, while Team Consulting Co provided environmental management studies. Datang International (Hong Kong) Ltd will be an equipment and engineering service provider. The company has discussed a long-term purchasing contract with a coal mine operator in Indonesia, he added.
Mr Premchai said that Koh Kong Power Light had been in discussions with the Thai government to supply power to Egat. It offered a cheaper price for electricity to Thailand than local coal-fired power plants and Laos's Hongsa Lignite in order to secure a power purchase contract with Egat.
''We want the new power plant to supply electricity to Egat, but it has yet to be included in the current Power Development Plan,'' Mr Premchai said.
''The project has not started construction. But once we secure the power contract with Egat, we could speed up the development to finish one year ahead of schedule.''
The Cambodian power plant is part of ITD's strategy to diversify into energy and mining to offset falling revenue from core construction activities over the past two years. It established wholly owned subsidiaries Italian-Thai Power and Energy Co and Sin Rae Muang Thai Co to support this strategy.
The two companies have sought business opportunities in Southeast Asian countries, India and Madagascar, he added.
ITD posted a consolidated net profit of 893 million baht in the nine months to September 2007, compared to a loss of 1.4 billion baht during the same period a year earlier, reflecting in part a change in accounting methods.
ITD shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 7.25 baht, down 60 satang, in trade worth 196 million baht.

Foreign tourist arrivals in Cambodia to increase by 20% on annual basis

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Foreign tourist arrivals in Cambodia will increase by 20 percent on annual basis in the upcoming decade, local Chinese-language newspaper the Commercial News on Monday quoted an industry report as saying.
Cambodia saw some two million foreign tourist arrivals in 2007,a 20 percent rise over 2006, and the expansion rate is expected to maintain, said the report from the Cambodian Association of Travel Agencies.
Most of the tourists were Japanese, Chinese, Americans, South Koreans and French people, said the report, adding that the industry earned some 140 million U.S. dollars in 2007, accounting for almost 10 percent of the kingdom's gross national products.
Meanwhile, another Chinese-language newspaper the Jianhua Dailyon Monday quoted industry official as saying that Cambodia will have three million foreign tourist arrival in 2010 and five million in 2015.
Tourism has been one of Cambodia's triple pillar industries. The Angkor Wat historical park in Siem Reap province, the beach in Sihanoukville municipality and the Royal Palace in capital city Phnom Penh are the main attractions for foreign tourists.
Editor: Jiang Yuxia

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Accounting, Finance Will Be Hot In '08

Jan. 7, 2008 (Investor's Business Daily delivered by Newstex) --

Skilled accountants and finance experts will be among 2008's most sought-after professionals.
Research by staffer Robert Half International says companies are especially interested in accountants and auditors who have excellent communication and tech skills.
Robert Half says the most in-demand positions for 2008 include:
Internal auditors. Those with certified internal auditor designations to help meet compliance rules like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are particularly in demand. National average starting salaries for internal audit managers at companies with more than $250 million in sales are expected to climb 6.7% next year to $81,500 to $109,500 annually.
Senior accountants. Those with public accounting smarts and at least three years of experience will be needed to perform core accounting tasks. The greatest gains in starting compensation for senior accountants are expected at midsize firms. Average starting salaries are expected to rise 5.4% over 2007 to $49,250 to $63,000 annually.
Financial analysts. Companies need them to help with budgeting, forecasting and financial modeling. Demand is especially acute at the management and senior levels. Base pay is forecast to jump 5.8% for managers with large firms, to $74,750 to $99,000.
Temp Demand May Slip In Q1
Shifting economic conditions are expected to cause adjusted demand for temporary workers in the U.S. to fall by 2.3% from a year earlier in the first quarter of 2008.
The survey by staffing consultant G. Palmer & Associates also says adjusted demand for temps in the fourth quarter of 2007 likely fell less than 2% below the same period in 2006. This is because the unemployment rate was lower than expected in the final three months of 2007, resulting in higher than expected demand for temporary workers.
Organizing Is Key To Business Success
An Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) survey says that 39% of business professionals believe that getting organized will be their key to success in 2008.
The office products retailer found that almost a third want to raise their efficiency in order to have more time for other activities. An additional 24% hope to get rid of the paper piles on their desks.
Respondents told Office Depot ODP that chaos in the workplace is costly. Sixty-five percent believe that lost time is the biggest drawback to disorder. And 54% say chaotic work habits cause them to forget deadlines and appointments.
Thirteen percent believe that jumbled work habits cost them business opportunities.
Improving the tilt between work and personal life is viewed as a key to boosting productivity. Fifty-three percent of professionals say improving their work-life balance is their leading goal for 2008.

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