More than 30 businesses from the Oceania region this weekend displayed their products and services at the Hotel Inter-Continental in an effort to enhance business ties between the region and Cambodia.
Business Expo 2000 was organized by the Australian Business Association of Cambodia, the oldest business association in Cambodia, established in 1995. Exhibitors included Australia-based businesses as well as potential investors from New Zealand, especially in communications, technology and business consultancy.
“We will increasingly see closer links develop between the Asean Free Trade Area and the free trade arrangement between Australia and New Zealand,” said visiting Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer in a press statement. He said more than half of Australia’s exports go to East Asia, and Cambodia’s improved investment climate will encourage more investment from his country.
Stephen Woodall, president of the association, acknowledged that it would take some time for Cambodia’s business sector to regain confidence, but said the current climate for business and the economy is promising.
“Cambodia is continuing to emerge from decades of turmoil,” Woodall stated. “The results of the 1998 general elections and subsequent formation of a coalition government have created a calm and cautious optimism.”
Australia is Cambodia’s third- largest bilateral donor. Downer said Friday that Australia will grant $21 million over the next year, up 3 percent, to such areas as agriculture, the justice system and de-mining.