Your Excellency PHAN VAN KHAI, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, it is my great pleasure to join you all at the “Cambodia-Vietnam Trade Forum”, which is organized at the time where both countries are gradually promoting closer cooperation in every sector.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to warmly welcome H.E. PHAN VAN KHAI, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Vietnamese delegation, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, national and international guests to this opening ceremony of the “Cambodia-Vietnam Trade Forum”. Indeed, this “Cambodia-Vietnam Trade Forum” will further contribute to the strengthening of traditional friendship and prosperous bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and on my own, I would also like to express my appreciation to great achievements in economic development in every sector by the Vietnamese people, especially the success from the “Doi Moi Reform Programme”. The RGC also wishes to highly appreciate the foreign policy and active participation of Vietnam in regional and international organizations as well as success in organizing the ASEM 5 Meeting in 2004 in Hanoi and the forthcoming APEC Meeting which is to be held in Ho Chi Minh City in September 2006. Thus, I would like to reiterate Cambodia’s support of Vietnam accession into the WTO in the near future.
Moreover, I am delighted to stress our two countries’ common understanding on key regional and international issues, especially the needs for close regional and bilateral cooperation within such frameworks as UN, NAM, G77, ACD, ASEAN, ACMECS, ASEM, GMS and East-West-Economic Corridor.
Furthermore, the countries have also reiterated our strong commitment to close cooperation with other ASEAN’s member countries in promoting the implementation of Vientiane Action Plan, especially the ASEAN integration in response to any challenge faced by ASEAN in building its community and deepening the partnership between ASEAN and other dialogue partners. In this regard, our countries have also agreed on close cooperation with Laos in promoting the implementation of the Master Plan on “Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Triangle Development”.
We have clearly seen that the decade of peace and stability in Cambodia has substantially enhanced the living standard of our people and opened up many opportunities. Peace, which has been achieved through our tireless efforts and mutual accommodation, has crucially contributed to the development of the economy and society in Cambodia. During the last decade, we have made tremendous progress with regard to promoting economic growth. In 2005, more than 7% of economic growth has been achieved despite the end of bilateral textile agreement and the server negative external impacts, especially the unusual increase in oil prices and the spread of epidemic deceases. The per capita income increased by 4.5% per annum in average, in real term. If compared with the observed 56% sample of the country, numbers of people living under poverty line has declined from 39% in 1993 to only 28% in 2004. The implementation of Public Finance Policy in 2005 has been improved with better revenue collection, and systematic spending restraints and rationalization. Budget in 2005 has been carefully implemented in order to provide the opportunity for priority spending such as education, health, government official reform, building and renovating and the building of fiscal infrastructure including irrigation system.
Indeed, economic growth has been benefiting from various reforms that the Royal Government has been carefully implemented including Public Financial Management Reform, Financial Sector Development and Private sector Development, especially the improvement of business environment and investment, trade facilitation, private participation in the financial infrastructure and the development of small and medium enterprises together with Land Management Reform, Governance Reform, and Law and Judicial reform. All of these can be achieved in conjunction with political stability and peace which are the key aspects for Cambodia in order to step forward in improving the living standard, respecting human right, strengthening democracy, and to achieve sustainable development as pointed out in the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government.
Our priority is to improve all forms of physical infrastructure including roads, bridges, rails, water ways, ports, airports, irrigation system, transportation system, electricity production and distribution and clean water supply. Attention must be given specially to the attraction of private participation domestically and from abroad. In this regard, a strong partnership between the government, private sector and civil society has been established with aids from international development partners. For instance, this relation has been strengthened and greatly broadened through meetings and consultations among different reform working groups.
At the same time, the Royal Government has been striving to eradicate all the impediments facing by private investment through a determined reform aiming at trade facilitation and improved investment environment and especially through improved governance. The specific measures include the introduction of a “single administrative document system” and “risk management strategy” for import-export activities that will substantially reduce unnecessary procedures and documents as well as transaction costs of doing business. The establishment of “special economic zones” along international border-crossing areas becomes another effective policy in addressing these issues. Moreover, we are also focusing on strengthened entrepreneurship and promoted small and medium enterprises through improving and facilitating access to both short-term and long-term credit.
Indeed, with our strong commitment, trade opportunities with neighboring countries and the rest of the world have been expanded and steadily strengthened. In facts, the bilateral cooperation between Cambodia-Vietnam has resulted in increased trade at higher and balanced volume.
I would like to highlight the following key points on access of Cambodian products into international and neighboring markets, particularly in strengthening and expanding trade between Cambodia and Vietnam, which I believe it will contribute to propelling our fast growing and increasingly-close bilateral cooperation.
The key issues that we table for discussion and negotiation are as follows:
1. Promoted relationship and improved trade balance;
2. Preferential treatments for Cambodian products export to Vietnam. In this respect, Vietnam agreed to provide trade preferential treatment for 40 types of products from Cambodia. Rice and tobacco are also tax exempted, but subject to quota with the amount required further study;
3. Implement the provision of goods in transit;
4. Establish border market for free trade and special trade zone;
5. Exchange trade and investment delegation;
6. Attract foreign investment to BAVET economic zone; and
7. Cooperation in promoting trade.
Though, among the seven points raised by the Cambodian team, some were agreed and others require further negotiation, I hope that the negotiation and discussion will focus on expanding and strengthening a new cooperation between our two countries. It is our both countries’ common efforts to deepen the relationship of good neighbors, traditional amity, and long-lasting and broad-based cooperation.
I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Vietnamese Government and People, especially H.E. Prime Minister PHAN VAN KHAY, who is here, for their continued supports in rehabilitating physical infrastructure, human resources development and health, and for providing us trade preferential treatments for 40 types of goods without demanding same treatments in exchange from Cambodia.
Again, I would like to thank for your participation in this forum. May I wish the Cambodia-Vietnam Trade Forum a successful and fruitful dialogue, and wish you all a safe and pleasant stay in Cambodia. Again, may I welcome you all to Cambodia and thank you.