Sergei Krasilnikov, Vice-President and Managing Director for International Bilateral Cooperation of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), acted as the moderator of the "Industry" session during the online business mission of Russian companies to the Kingdom of Cambodia held on 30 July 2021. He stressed the importance of the RSPP as the leading Russian business association in industrial cooperation between the two countries. Sergei Krasilnikov said that RSPP members are involved in the development and implementation of economic policies at home and abroad through a wide range of multilateral and bilateral cooperation mechanisms. He also noted that the creation of new joint institutions, such as the North-east Asia Business Association, would help develop cooperation between Russian businesses and Asian partners.
"The RSPP is pursuing the same goal by developing the Greater Eurasia Business Association. We are confident that our ASEAN partners, and Cambodians in particular, will benefit from this new mechanism of cooperation on third country markets. Many Russian companies are interested in entering the Cambodian and ASEAN markets. RSPP represents Russia in the Business Council of the Eurasian Economic Union, becoming a 'single window' for foreign partners who intend to work with the EAEU," stressed Sergei Krasilnikov.
He also noted the importance of the recently signed ASEAN Free Trade Agreement with the most important trading partners in the region, and commented on the potential for a free trade agreement between Cambodia and the EAEU.
The business mission was timed to coincide with the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, and the Russian Ministry of Economic Development. It should be noted that there was great interest in this business mission. The event was attended by more than 200 representatives of Russian and Cambodian companies and organisations.
In turn, Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Cambodia, Valentin Dikushin, said that Russia and Cambodia have been close friends and partners for 65 years, and have a history of mutually beneficial cooperation in many areas. Mr Dikushin expressed confidence that once the coronavirus pandemic was over, cooperation between the countries would enter a new phase of development and prosperity. Moreover, he stressed the importance of the activity of the intergovernmental commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation. He believed that this intergovernmental platform played a major role in strengthening and enhancing trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation between the countries.
The Kingdom of Cambodia was represented by Nhim Khemara, Secretary of State and Head of the Economic Diplomacy Coordination Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He said Cambodia could provide impressive opportunities for companies from Russia in many fields. He expressed confidence that the potential for cooperation between the two countries was limitless. Nhim Khemara noted the need for various meetings both at the state level and between companies themselves.
Park David, Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy Head of the Economic Diplomacy Coordination Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, representing the Cambodian element of the business mission, presented a detailed plan for the development of economic diplomacy of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Park David identified several of the most important areas of development:
- human capital;
- public-private partnerships;
- the mechanism of information exchange;
- promotion of cultural and educational exchanges and tourism.
Rat Sarawut, Director General for International Trade of the Ministry of Trade of the Kingdom of Cambodia, gave a brief overview of the Cambodian economy in his presentation. Rat Sarawut detailed investment opportunities in Cambodia, as well as how the government provides incentives and support measures for companies. In his speech, Rat Sarawut said that investment in Cambodia was attractive because of the large number of Free Trade Agreements with different countries, including China, South Korea and the Generalized System of Preferences. He noted several competitive advantages of the Cambodian economy:
- Government policies aimed at business development;
- "one-stop-shop" system for business registration and interaction with the government;
- absence of discriminatory measures;
- a large young working-age population.
Chhem Kieth Rethy, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, noted that the two countries have a wealth of experience in science and technology collaboration. Chhem Kieth Rethy expressed interest in further developing the partnership between the two countries in this field, and establishing an exchange of innovation and technology to promote the continued and sustainable development of both countries. Chhem Kieth Rethy made three recommendations to companies: ensure technology transfer to enable Cambodia's youth to be more competitive; promote talent development in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics); exchange researchers and specialists in the sciences.
Sok Hawan, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, gave a brief overview of Cambodia's energy system and the country's mining industry. He noted the great potential for Russian companies to develop new mineral deposits in Cambodia. He also gave an overview of the share of solar energy in total energy production and the prospects for growth in this area.
Three thematic sessions were organised as part of the business mission. During the discussion on "IT, Cyber Security and Digital Technology" Russian companies presented products in the field of information security, "smart cities", data analysis, system integration and IT consulting to their Cambodian counterparts.
Participants of the "Industry" session discussed the prospects of cooperation in the aeronautical sector, automotive industry and carbon processing technologies.
During the "Energy" session, representatives of Russian companies discussed the potential for supplying Russian energy equipment, their interest in practical cooperation in the field of exploration, development and extraction of mineral resources in Cambodia, and prospects for cooperation in the field of hydro and solar energy.
During these sessions, Russian companies presented concrete proposals to their Cambodian counterparts:
- cyber threat intelligence, digital risk protection modules in companies and government agencies in Cambodia (Group-IB).
- implementation of "administrative region digital profile" in the Kingdom of Cambodia (VS Lab)
- threat detection, information leakage prevention for companies and government agencies in Cambodia (SearchInform)
- urban environment modelling systems in various cities, digital analysis of urban development in Cambodia (Affinum)
- opening of dealerships and service centres in Cambodia, and willingness to provide material and technical support (KAMAZ)
- bringing in modern automated systems and technologies at various airports around the world, including Cambodia (Global Air Navigation Systems)
- the processing and use of rice husks in various industries (Carboil)
- possible applications of OJSC Power Machines’ equipment in Cambodia
- production and operation of solar panels, market entry opportunities in Cambodia (Unigreen)
- designing a hydropower plant in Vietnam and opportunities to participate in projects in Cambodia (Institute HydroProject)
In his closing remarks, Representative Nhim Khemara, Secretary of State and Head of the Economic Diplomacy Coordination Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that "Cambodia aims to become a middle-income economy by 2030 and a high-income economy by 2050. To achieve this goal, the Royal Government of Cambodia has implemented a series of structural reforms needed to improve the country's business activities and investment climate. The Russian government is committed to its partnership obligations, and is making all necessary efforts to support and implement new investment projects involving Russian companies in the Kingdom of Cambodia in areas such as industry, agriculture, ICT and waste management. The partnership with Russia is vital in realising our national goals for the period until 2030 and 2050".
Representatives of Cambodia assured that they would continue to explore the possibility of signing a Free Trade Agreement with Russia. Both sides described the business mission as very fruitful, as it showed that both sides were interested in pursuing the huge opportunities for cooperation.
At the end of the business mission, all participants agreed that the countries needed closer cooperation, both at a governmental level and between business representatives.
Companies can use the "Red Button" service to send information about existing barriers, challenges and opportunities for international cooperation (link https://rspp.ru/activity/cooperation/podat-zhalobu-rasskazat-o-vozmozhnostyakh/), and our experts will provide practical advice on setting up business in Cambodia or help to get in contact with companies in Russia and Cambodia.