Hun Sen Pleased With 2000 Economic Growth

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thurs­day praised the Ministry of Commerce for last year’s economic growth, despite the country’s failure to meet its projected growth for 2000.

Speaking at the Ministry’s annual meeting, Hun Sen thanked the Ministry for “maintaining its important position in the Royal government’s overall mandate. “The [Ministry of Com­merce] has brought marvelous achievements of great appreciation,” he said.

Tourism and manufacturing helped buoy Cambodia’s fragile economy, Hun Sen said, particularly the garment industry, which has been Cambodia’s biggest industrial moneymaker and expects to add millions of dollars into national coffers this year.

He outlined the Ministry’s 2001 strategy, including implementation of a commercial code and the nation’s deeper entry into global markets. Earlier this month Hun Sen signed a subdecree establishing an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee that would set commercial policies he hopes will alleviate some of the poverty plaguing Cambodia.

The lingering effects of the region’s economic crisis and last year’s severe flooding have been blamed for the country’s failure to reach its projected 5.5 percent growth by 1 percent. But Hun Sen also cautioned that fully embracing the free market could hurt the economy.

“Relying too much on free market mechanisms to reap short-term benefits…has wreaked havoc to Southeast Asia and East Asia during the last two years

“The impacts of the financial turmoil in the region have resulted in large-scale tragedies that cannot be gauged,” he said.


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