Chinese firm seeking investment opportunity in rice exports, hotel industry in Cambodia

China’s COFCO, the largest oils and food importer and exporter in China and a leading food manufacturer, on Tuesday afternoon expresses its interest to invest in rice exports and tourism in Cambodia.

“We are very interesting in rice exports from Cambodia and hotel industry in Cambodia,”Yang Hong, vice president of China Oil and Foodstuff Corporation (COFCO), said on Tuesday during a meeting with the officials at the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC). “After the possibility study about the investment opportunity here, we will take the two sectors into investment consideration,” she added.

She said that the Beijing-based COFCO Group is a leading firm in the businesses of biofuel and biochemical production, oilseed processing, rice trading and processing for exports, brewing materials production, and wheat processing, moreover, the group also engages in real estate businesses.

Vongsey Vissoth, secretary general of the Ministry of Finance, said that Cambodia has produced 7.3 million tons of rice paddy in 2010, of which the surpass quantity is 3.5 million tones of rice paddy or 2.1 million tons of processed rice that is available for exports. “China just signed a rice inspection and quarantine cooperation agreement with Cambodia in October that is easier for Chinese investors to export rice from Cambodia,”he said.

Tith Chantha, director general of the Ministry of Tourism, said that currently Cambodia has 438 hotels with 24,239 rooms, accommodating around 2.1 million foreign tourists last year. “Cambodia has potentials in tourism and the extent of the economy is bigger, it is estimated that Cambodia needs up to 40, 000 rooms by 2015 as the number of foreign tourists is expected around 3.7 million at that year,”he said, adding”so putting your investment in the sector from now is the right time.” The 13-member delegation consisted the officials of COFCO and ICBC.

Sok Cheda, the CDC’s secretary general, said that the delegation comes to Cambodia after Jiang Jianqing, President of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) met with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Nov. 5 in Phnom Penh and expressed the bank’s purpose to open its branch in Cambodia and he promised with the prime minister to attract more Chinese investors to Cambodia. Xinhua….

Cambodian PM says no punishment for fatal stampede

Washington Post, AP

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia’s prime minister said Monday that no one will be punished for last week’s stampede in which at least 351 revelers died after the swaying of a suspension bridge cause mass panic.

Hun Sen said many people share responsibility for not anticipating the problems that caused the Nov. 22 tragedy but that rescue efforts were adequate and, without them, the death toll would have been higher.

“No one will receive punishment for this incident,” Hun Sen said at the opening of a new government building. “We have to learn a lesson from this for solving such problems in the future.”

Preliminary findings by an official investigation committee found that the natural swaying of a suspension bridge ignited fears it would collapse among an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people on the structure. In frantic efforts to escape, the crowd pressed and heaved, crushing hundreds of people and leading some to dive off the span into the water.

The official casualty toll is 351 dead and 395 injured. It was updated Sunday, after two more people died of their injuries and two others were added to list of dead by relatives said they had taken their bodies home.

The stampede occurred on the last day of a three-day holiday, as a crowd estimated to be more than 1 million thronged to the capital to celebrate the traditional water festival.

Last week Hun Sen has described the stampede as the biggest tragedy since the communist Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, which killed an estimated 1.7 million people in the late 1970s.

“It happened unexpectedly,” said Hun Sen. “If we had correctly assessed in advance that there could have been a stampede, then we would not have allowed people to cross the bridge.”

Hun Sen also announced that the families of each of the dead people would each be given at least $12,000, an enormous sum in a country where the annual per capita income is just over $700.

China gives Cambodia $6 million to help restore temple at Angkor complex

AP– PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – China has given Cambodia $6 million to help restore a deteriorating temple at the Angkor Wat temple complex, one of Asia’s greatest landmarks.

Soeung Kong, an official with the agency that oversees the Angkor Archaeological Park, said Monday the renovation of the Hindu-style Ta Keo temple will begin early next year and should be completed in eight years. He said the temple is deteriorating badly and its walls are at risk of collapse due to natural deterioration.

Ta Keo is a pyramid of five levels, built entirely of sandstone in the late 10th century to early 11th century.

China previously gave $2 million in 2000 to help restore Chausay Tevada, a 12th century Hindu temple at the complex, he said.