Cambodia will host the 15th China-ASEAN Expo next year to showcase business opportunities in the regional grouping and also to attract more investment and tourists from China, Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday.
“Cambodia is honoured to host the expo in 2018 as it offers the opportunity for heads of state and government, and China’s leading entrepreneurs to discuss and exchange ideas to strengthen and expand trade and investment,” said Hun Sen. “It also is an opportunity for leaders and business people to come together in a forum and develop opportunities,” added the premier in comments made while leading a group of high ranking officials at the 14th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning city, in Guangxi Province.
The 14th China-ASEAN Expo is titled “Co-Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Promoting Regional Economic Integration through Tourism”. The four-day event has attracted 2,709 exhibitors, up 1.5 per cent from the previous year, while the number of buyers is expected to exceed 10,000, including about 4,000 international buyers, according to the expo secretariat.
Hun Sen said that this year’s expo came at a crucial period when China was strengthening its relationship with the regional grouping and the rest of Asia. “With the growth of the global economy, Asia is a leading growth engine. Asia has been profoundly transformed and has become a major multicultural hub that the world wants to know and understand. In a sense, the theme of this forum is very important in promoting China, ASEAN and the whole of Asia as an attractive and competitive area,” he added.
The premier also pointed out that the trade volume between ASEAN and China was estimated at $452 billion in 2016. At the same time, he said, nearly 20 million Chinese tourists had visited ASEAN in 2016, up 6.4 percent compared with the previous year.
Anthony Galliano, founder and CEO of Cambodian Investment Management, said China had an important role in the region, especially in infrastructure development and the push for economic growth. “The investment by China is a leading contribution to Cambodia’s consistent robust economic growth, transforming the country’s economy, infrastructure, and stature in the region,” he said. “China benefits economically by achieving more low-cost capacity outside the country and creating destination markets for its exports.”
Galliano said that while China’s financial aid and investment had mainly been directed to infrastructure projects, particularly roads and bridges, they would in turn facilitate commerce, logistics and “undoubtedly benefit the population in general”.
“Developing a modern infrastructure creates construction jobs, facilitates trade and promotes the movement of goods and services. China also benefits as infrastructure projects improve access to locations where Chinese companies operate – a win-win for both nations,” he added.
The One Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the Maritime Silk Road, unveiled in 2013, is China’s grand plan to link over 60 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe through infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, and ports. In May, President Xi Jinping pledged more than $100 billion to the initiative that would account for one-third of global GDP and 60 percent of the world’s population.