Mekong Memo Cambodia 20230918
Mekong Memo Cambodia Weekly, September 18, 2023: Business, politics, finance, trade & legal news.
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Here is your Mekong Memo Cambodia for the week of September 18, 2023.
China and Cambodia Strengthen Diplomatic and Economic Ties Amid Indo-Pacific Tensions
Chinese President Xi Jinping and new Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet have pledged to deepen their countries' cooperation in areas such as law enforcement, security, and industry. This marks Hun Manet's first bilateral visit since taking office. The trip underscores Cambodia’s friendly political and economic relationship with the the Middle Kingdom. Both leaders committed to supporting each other's national sovereignty and development goals. The strengthened relationship comes as geopolitical tensions rise in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the disputed South China Sea.
China's Electric Vehicles Gain Traction in Cambodia Amid Government Incentives
Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular in Cambodia, driven by government incentives and consumer awareness of the benefits, such as reduced fuel and maintenance costs. The Cambodian government has lowered import duties on EVs to encourage adoption, aiming for 40% of cars and 70% of motorbikes to be electric by 2050. Local traders like Kim Kheang are making the switch to EVs, citing cost savings and environmental benefits. EVs are similarly priced to petrol vehicles but offer significant long-term savings.
RCEP Offers Economic Upside Amid Implementation Challenges
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is poised to boost Cambodia's economy by attracting foreign investment, enhancing trade balance, and creating jobs. However, the country faces challenges like regulatory hurdles and capacity constraints. Cambodia aims to leverage RCEP to achieve its economic goals, including becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030. Experts suggest that to fully capitalize on RCEP, Cambodia needs to invest in infrastructure, streamline regulations, and focus on sectors like textiles, agriculture, and manufacturing rather than speculative markets like real estate.
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