Saturday, October 13, 2012

Toll Royal Railways expands

Toll Royal Railways signed two freight logistics agreements with Siam Concrete Group and United Logistics and Distribution at their offices in Phnom Penh’s Central Railway Station yesterday.

SCG Cambodia contracted TRR for the transport and warehousing for bagged cement from Touk Meas in Kampot province to Phnom Penh, said David Kerr in a press conference yesterday.

Kerr believes January 2013 will bring an additional opportunity for TRR to transport SCG’s bagged cement to Sihanoukville. 

“It’s been announced that the line will be open through to the port of Sihanoukville in January 2013,” he said. “This opens up further opportunities for us to work with SCG in the transport of domestic bagged cement to Sihanoukville and the import of up to 8,000 tonnes of coal per month.”

Beyond the line to Sihanoukville port, Kerr spoke of possibilities for transport to the north for mining products, oil and bitumen. 

He also mentioned the transport of rice into Thailand when the rehabilitation of the “missing link” between Cambodia’s border crossing at Poipet and Thailand’s Aranyaprathet is completed. However, dates for when these lines will be in operation are not yet known.

Lia Giang, ULD’s general manager, expressed similar sentiments. 

“ULD Cambodia looks forward to further development on the railway service, in particular the transport of salt and rice with the support of Toll Railway.”

The agreement with ULD is for the transport and warehousing of bagged salt from Kampot to Phnom Penh and of bagged rice from Battambang to Phnom Penh and Kampot. The first trainload of salt under this agreement was moved on September 24.

Kerr commented on the commitment from the government and the private sector to transporting goods via railways and roads. 

“The interest in Cambodia has been strong with people being interested in signing 30-year contracts,” he said. “We have a 30-year concession with the government and people are that committed to the project that they’re looking at extended terms.”

Penny Richards, Ambassador of Australia to Cambodia, was in attendance yesterday due to Australia’s involvement in the railway rehabilitation project in Cambodia. Also in attendance were Chan Sothy, director of the Department of Investment and Cooperation in the Ministry of Economy and Finance

Kerr mentioned the importance of railways to realising the government’s goal of exporting one million tonnes of rice by 2015. When asked about how railway transport will fit with waterways also being developed for the same goal through foreign investors, Kerr said he sees a lot of potential for cooperation.

“Where roads aren’t high developed, [the products] can come in through feeder vessels into the new river port and then they can be distributed either by waterways or by rail.”


Source: The Phnom Penh Post, Friday, 12 October 2012 by Erika Mudie

Officials trained on fake goods

Cambodia lacks the resources for implementing intellectual property rights, while relevant officers lack skills to monitor the import of counterfeit products, according to an official.  

Var Roth San, Head of the Secretariat of National Committee for Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) and Director of  the Department of  Intellectual Property Rights in the Ministry of Commerce, said Cambodia, among the least developed countries, faces many problems in monitoring conterfeit goods, distinguishing those from genuine products and implementing the intellectual property rights.

During a training course on identifting counterfeit products, organised by law firm Tilleke & Gibbins yesterday, Var Roth San said Cambodia lacks finances, human resources, materials and other techniques to monitor and identify fake goods. 

Seventy officials from  Customs, Camcontrol, the police, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Department of  Intellectual Property Rights, public prosecutors and judges conevened to learn how to identify and verify genuine and counterfeit goods, according to a press release issued by Tilleke & Gibbins. 

Var Roth San said Cambodia produces few counterfeit goods, but many are flown in from neighbouring countries. 

“We bring counterfeit goods from Vietnam; we bring them from Thailand and China in huge [amounts]," he said. 

"China can produce everything. Anything we want to order, China can produce,” he said. Var Roth San said  most faked goods are clothing and cosmetics. 

Alan Adcock, deputy director of the Intellectual Property section of Tilleke & Gibbins, which has offices in Vietnam and Thailand, said: “The production of counterfeit goods doesn’t only happen in Cambodia or in Asia. It happens all over the world. To resolve this problem, clients need the right contracts with manufacturers.”

source from The Phnom Penh Post, 
Friday, 12 October 2012
 Rann Reuy

Cambodia to get more benefits in Mekong Region trade: ADB

Cambodia could benefit more from trade in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) by implementing time and cost, cutting measures and removing constraints on exports, according to a new book by the Asian Development Bank.

“Cambodia’s exporters are well-positioned within the GMS to grow and expand,” Peter Brimble, senior country economist and author of one of the book chapters, said in a news release. 

“Policy adjustments can help reduce cost and transport times, making Cambodian exporters more competitive and enhancing their credibility.”

During a media briefing yesterday, Brimble said logistics costs in Cambodia were high compared to other countries in the region. Using the GMS Southern Economic Corridor, which links Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, as a case study, he identified factors contributing to higher costs and delays in cross border trade. 

According to the news release, transport costs in Cambodia are US$9 per tonne per 100 kilometre from Bangkok to Phnom Penh and $13 per tonne per 100 kilometres from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, compared to $6 in Thailand and $7 in Vietnam. 

 With $19 to $20 per tonne per 100 kilometres, logistics costs for the Cambodian section are almost double the costs for the Thai  and Vietnamese sections.

To overcome trade constraints, the book recommends nine policy measures, prioritizing an increase in the availability of information about agreements, laws, rules and regulations; minimizing checkpoints along the corridor and expediting issuance of certificates of origin. 

“If certain improvements are made, we can cut the costs and time down significantly in Cambodia,” Brimble said during the briefing.

The book, jointly produced by AusAID, also looks at export constraints in Cambodia’s private sector, covering garments, rice and wood exporters. 

Based on interviews with enterprises and export companies in the private sector, the book identifies a lack of reliable energy supply, shortages of labour with sector-specific skills, financing limitations and government regulations among the challenges.  

“If you get trade and logistics right in countries, it not only allows the Cambodian private sector to grow and flourish but also allows for foreign direct investment,” said Gordon Peters, manager at Emerging Markets Consulting and author of one of the chapters. 

The book says despite export growth, Cambodia’s share in the total 2009 trade share of the GMS5, excluding China, accounted only 2.2 per cent.

source from The Phnom Penh Post, 

Friday, 12 October 2012
 Anne Renzenbrink

Officials trained on fake goods

Cambodia lacks the resources for implementing intellectual property rights, while relevant officers lack skills to monitor the import of counterfeit products, according to an official.  

Var Roth San, Head of the Secretariat of National Committee for Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) and Director of  the Department of  Intellectual Property Rights in the Ministry of Commerce, said Cambodia, among the least developed countries, faces many problems in monitoring conterfeit goods, distinguishing those from genuine products and implementing the intellectual property rights.

During a training course on identifting counterfeit products, organised by law firm Tilleke & Gibbins yesterday, Var Roth San said Cambodia lacks finances, human resources, materials and other techniques to monitor and identify fake goods. 

Seventy officials from  Customs, Camcontrol, the police, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Department of  Intellectual Property Rights, public prosecutors and judges conevened to learn how to identify and verify genuine and counterfeit goods, according to a press release issued by Tilleke & Gibbins. 

Var Roth San said Cambodia produces few counterfeit goods, but many are flown in from neighbouring countries. 

“We bring counterfeit goods from Vietnam; we bring them from Thailand and China in huge [amounts]," he said. 

"China can produce everything. Anything we want to order, China can produce,” he said. Var Roth San said  most faked goods are clothing and cosmetics. 

Alan Adcock, deputy director of the Intellectual Property section of Tilleke & Gibbins, which has offices in Vietnam and Thailand, said: “The production of counterfeit goods doesn’t only happen in Cambodia or in Asia. It happens all over the world. To resolve this problem, clients need the right contracts with manufacturers.”

source from The Phnom Penh Post, 

Friday, 12 October 2012
 Rann Reuy

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Former detention site to become genocide research centre


121011_04

Youk Chhang (C), director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, and Minister of Education Im Sothy sign an MoU, yesterday, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. Photograph supplied
The Documentation Center of Cambodia and the Ministry of Education signed an agreement yesterday granting the historical research non-profit body an empty plot of land on the former Boeung Trabek detention centre site for a museum, school and research centre, said DC-Cam director Youk Chhang.

According to the project’s website, the Sleuk Rith Institute – whose name is a reference to the papyrus-like leaves once used by Cambodian scholars to record history – will be situated near Boeung Trabek High School, and will set out to be “the leading centre for genocide studies in Asia”, in addition to housing facilities through which DC-Cam will continue its work of recording the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge.

In addition to its school of genocide, conflict and human rights and its genocide museum, the institute, said Chhang, will be involved in examining and recommending national policy.

“DC-Cam has always been engaging the government on all issue[s] through research,” Chhang added.

Leng Bun Hong, secretary-general of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association – which has raised concerns over the project in the past – said the union feared the institute would displace students, if not now, then in years to come.

“I think that for my idea, the [number of] students will increase more in the future, so the government and ministry should keep the school’s land to balance with student’s growth,” Bun Hong said, noting that “some areas must be preserved”. 

Chhang, on the other hand, insisted the project would represent a net gain for education.

“We will build a school, museum, research centre not only for both teachers and students at Boeung Trabek High School, but [for students] all across Cambodia,” he said.

source from the Phnom Penh Post, 
Thursday, 11 October 2012
 Sen David and Stuart White

Positive outlook for Cambodia's economy

Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodia Economic Association (CEA), talks to the i’s Deputy Business Editor May Kunmakara about Cambodia’s economic performance this year and the effect of the global economy during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Annual Meeting in Tokyo.

How do you see Cambodia’s economic performance up to now?
Well, I do agree with some international financial institutions such as the IMFWorld Bank and the ADB as well as the government’s projections of 6.5 to 7 per cent on Cambodia’s growth projections for 2012. However, I would like to point out this figure is a projection for the average growth. The highest projection is between 9 to 10 per cent. 

We can easily achieve this average rate via our opening economy with the opportunity to export to foreign countries, the flow of foreign direct investments coming in due to the amount of land to be cultivated or developed and our cheap labour force. We also notice participation from the private sector contributes to the surge to boost economic growth.

Frankly, if the government can improve more policy, Cambodia can achieve the higher growth rates starting from 10 per cent or even higher. But, we’re a bit late in improving and restructuring the policies leading to an average growth of between 6 to 7 per cent. 

Why is government a bit late in improving their policies for achieving sustainable economic growth?
There are two things to say. First is the physical issue regarding development of infrastructure, our transportation costs, electricity costs and the high production costs that are still high compared to our neighbours. The second issue is the institutional and regulation framework. 

There’s a lot of work to be done. We still see corruption and a slow implementation of the laws. What is important is that the public service is still limited due to low government officials’ salaries which leads to low morale making them ineffective workers.  

These are things the government should concentrate on if they want to achieve an equitable and sustainable economic growth which can benefit all and not just a specific group. 

What are the main factors for the country’s economic growth? 
We see four main pillars of economic growth: garment export, agriculture, tourism and construction. They are improving due to the space we have for growth. In the agricultural sector, we’ve got huge potential for development because we’ve got plenty of farming land to attract more investors to come although our irrigation does not cover all agricultural areas. 

The construction and real-estate sector is also on the surge. We see that as a potential area for growth of the economy. 

We have a lot of demand for building developments, for office space and housing. At the same time, the tourism sector has big potential for economic growth as we have a lot of cultural and eco-tourism sites – especially Angkor Wat temple to attract not only tourists in the region but also from the West. 

The garment sector is still the main manufacturing industry to induce more investment flow because the government gives investors a lot of incentives. At the same time, the industry also enjoys a lot of foreign markets with duty free and quota free on the exports. 

Despite this, exports have decreased this year due to the slowdown of the economy in the United States and the European countries. However, the demand is still there. 

How do you feel about the inflationary rate?
I don’t have much concern over the inflationary rate. Actually, we take around 5 per cent annually that is not of concern. Why do we have a low inflation rate while some of our neighbours are high? The thing is that we got an open economy with a free flow of goods. 

This year, we see our inflation is very low which is around 3.6 per cent because some of our main importing countries also have low inflation rates. 

You have joined many meetings during the IFM-World Bank Annual meetings here. Can you foresee the effect of the spillover from the West’s economy to our economy? 
The global economy projection is very low due to the Euro zone crisis so that definitely affects our exports such as garments and agricultural products such as milled rice, rice paddy, cassava and corn are also dependent on the foreign markets. 

But, if we take a look the production capacity, we’ve got an increase, especially agricultural production. 

If based on what they projected about food prices being high in the upcoming years, I do believe that some of our producers will profit. 

This will attract more and more investment flow.

Source from Phnom Penh Post, 



Thursday, 11 October 2012
 May Kunmakara

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