Dar who represented Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, at the meeting said this is the first time ever that the India-CLMV Business Conclave took place via Videoconference, which reflected the high commitment of the CLMV (Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam) countries and India to organise such an important forum despite the global health crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thanks to the good cooperation between India and CLMV countries, Cambodia will be able to grasp sustainable development opportunity between country and country and the whole region,” he underlined.
The Secretary of State also explained about the effective steps taken by Cambodia to control the COVID-19 pandemic and touched upon strengthening the trade facilitation mechanism in Cambodia, improving logistics, single window clearance for setting up new businesses, regional connectivity, improved position of Cambodia in Word Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index among the ASEAN countries, advantages of investing in Cambodia due to availability of trade preferences scheme with EU, U.S., Canada and simplified customs procedures, etc.
According to a press release of the Embassy of India in Phnom Penh issued on Dec. 7,. V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs highlighted India’s cooperation with the CLMV region right through the COVID-19 crisis, including provision of medicines and medical supplies to the region, training of medical personnel from the region under ITEC scheme. He added that India seeks to enhance its cooperation and collaboration with the CLMV region in terms of developing a vaccine for COVID-19 and would be willing to share the vaccine as and when it is ready.
He also mentioned that it is India’s firm belief that promotion of businesses and private investments is essential for growth in CLMV region. He reiterated India’s commitment to ASEAN integration and connectivity agenda, and encouraged ASEAN countries, more especially the CLMV countries, for the utilisation of $1 billion credit line for enhancement of physical and digital connectivity.
V. Muraleedharan also mentioned that India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific, of which CLMV countries are a part, envisages a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region with an emphasis on ASEAN centrality, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations in the region, peaceful resolution of disputes, avoidance of use or threat of use of force and adherence to international laws, rules and regulations.
He took this opportunity to invite CLMV countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and participate in activities of seven pillars of Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), which has synergies with ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
For the separate “Country Session” on Cambodia, the Cambodian side explained the investment climate in Cambodia, simplification of procedures for registration of companies, tax benefits, etc., while Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India, requested Cambodia to look at utilisation of the LoC (Line of Credit) of $ 1 billion offered by India to ASEAN countries for connectivity projects seriously. She also highlighted the sectors and investment opportunities available in Cambodia to Indian companies and encouraged MSMEs from India to set up manufacturing units in Cambodia.
Figures from the Ministry of Commerce show that the two-way trade between Cambodia and India reached 256 million in 2019, of which $64.67 million were Cambodian exports to India. C. Nika – AKP