General Electric Opens Office in Cambodia

US corporate giant General Electric opened its first branch office in Cambodia on July 22, attracted by Cambodia’s potential oil and gas reserves and improv­ed investment climate, according to a company statement.

The technology-driven company said that Cambodia showed strong potential in four major sectors—health care, oil and gas, ener­­gy, and water—which interest GE, according to a press statement released July 22.

“GE goes where there is growth, and currently there is a lot of expansion in Cambodia driven by garment exports, infrastructure building, increasing consumption and tourism,” Ferdi­nando Beccalli-Falco, president and chief executive officer of GE International, was quoted in the statement.

“There is a significant amount of multilateral aid and loans flowing to Cambodia to support this growth, and the likelihood of significant oil and gas finds will enable Cambodia to fund its own growth in the future,” he said.

GE said that its expectations for Cambodia matched those for the region, where it has invested heavily in high-technology infrastructure businesses in water, energy, and construction, among other areas.

During an April visit by the company to Cambodia, officials said that GE representatives ex­pressed interest in bringing health sector equipment and power plants to Cambodia, but the company has yet to reveal any further details about its in­vestment plans.

“GE has been growing 20 percent annually in Southeast Asia, and we expect a similar growth pattern in Cambodia,” Pornlert Lattanan, president of GE Thai­land and Cambodia, was quoted by the statement as saying.

US Ambassador Joseph Mus­someli said that Cambodia’s business climate had made a turnaround, adding that increased foreign investment would be fundamental to the country’s continued economic growth.

“Cambodia is open for business, and we hope that many more American companies will follow in GE’s footsteps,” he said in a speech delivered July 22 during a launch ceremony for GE’s Phnom Penh office at the InterContinental Hotel.

In recent months, the Ameri­can Chamber of Com­merce in Thailand and the US-Asean Bu­siness Council have sent delegations of US company representatives on explora­tory visits to Cambodia.

Soy Sokha, economic adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, said July 23 that he believed US energy giant Chevron’s arrival in Cambodia had encouraged GE. He added that he hoped GE’s arrival would also create more local jobs.

Bretton Sciaroni, chairman of the International Business Coun­cil, said that GE’s presence in Cambodia sent an important message to US businesses about the country.

“Even though Cambodia does not have all the laws and regulations, and even with the deficiencies in the judicial system, there has been enough progress in 14 years for a serious blue-chip company to be taking a closer look,” he said.

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