Minister Says Korean Firms Await Gov’t

Four Korean companies are seeking to invest in Cambodia once a new government is formed, Council of Ministers official Touch Seang Tana said Wednesday.

Foreign investment in Cambo­dia has come to a near standstill in the past month as investors are waiting for the peaceful formation of a new government. The Ko­re­an businesses could not be contacted Thursday, and several government officials could not confirm the businesses were interested in investing.

“I think Korean companies worry about the Cambodian political situation very much,” said South Korean Embassy Admin­is­trator Piseth Samrigh. “Korean companies are interested in Cambodia, but it’s not so easy to invest because they have a lot of bureaucracy.”

A group of Korean investors will visit Cambodia next week to study investment law and market data, Touch Seang Tana, a CPP member, said. The companies met last week with members of the Council of Ministers’ Eco­nom­ic, Social, and Cultural Ob­serv­er Unit in Seoul.

One of the Korean companies, Riese Co Ltd, plans to build a factory to produce Bio-ware—technology founded by a Korean scholar that turns biodegradable corn powder into spoons, plates, forks and rice packages.

“Packages and bags made from corn powder will help the environment,” Touch Seang Tana said. “It will become dirt within a few days.”

The factory would need 1,000 tons of corn per month, which would help corn farmers in Kratie and Kompong Cham provinces, he added.

Korea-based Eung Jin Bank is hoping to invest $40 million to set up an electronic banking system. Another Korean business, New World Contractor Co Ltd, plans to build a five-star hotel complex.

In the first half of 2003, foreign investment rose compared with that period in 2002. But a Council for the Development of Cam­bo­dia official said just six new investment projects applied for a license from the CDC in July.

“The government,” the CDC official said, “still lacks a lot of laws that would make investors from Europe and Japan feel secure investing here.”


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