The Khmer Times

Dredging fee fraud alleged

A French-Canadian businessman was charged on March 29 with defrauding a sand trader of more than $300,000 by promising to arrange official permission for a dredging operation. Interior Ministry police officer Chea Pesith said Seang Metta, 52, of Boeung Keng Kang II commune in Phnom Penh, claimed he knew many high-ranking officials in the Environment Ministry and other ministries.

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Data quality vital for economy

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with the National Institute of Statistics, on March 29 conducted a workshop for all relevant government agencies on strengthening the economic statistics of Cambodia. The aim of the workshop was to strengthen capacity building on economic statistics to supply solid, reliable data to investors, researchers, policymakers, government and the people. Ministry of Planning secretary of state Rin Virak said that economic statistics played a crucial role in managing the macroeconomy. He said the workshop would provide input on building the National Economic Statistics Development Plan.

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ASEAN-China talks set for Cambodia

Cambodia will host the 20th ASEAN-China meeting aimed at boosting further discussions on the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea which could lead to finalizing the framework of the Code of Conduct. The two-day meeting of the joint working group on the DOC will start today in Siem Reap province, according to a Foreign Affairs Ministry statement. The announcement of the meeting was made following a meeting in Phnom Penh on Friday between Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and Chinese ambassador to ASEAN Xu Bu. In the meeting Mr. Sokhonn praised China for assisting with Cambodia’s development and pushing for growth of the nation’s economy.

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Illegal logging groups arrested

Eleven Vietnamese men and two Cambodian men have been arrested for border crossing offenses and logging in protected forests. Interior Ministry immigration police officer Bun Chantha said the Cambodians and seven of the Vietnamese were arrested in Rattanakiri province’s Lumphat district on March 27. The provincial immigration unit in collaboration with provincial environmental and forestry administration forces made the arrests. “They were caught red-handed after they illegally crossed the border into Cambodia, cutting down sought-after trees and sawing them into pieces to take them from the forest to sell,” he said.

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$5 mil Smart fund launched for start-ups

Smart Axiata, Cambodia’s leading telecommunications company, on March 28 launched a $5 million venture capital fund for digital service companies and start-ups in the country. The Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund aims to meet demands for cash and expertise as the number of Cambodian digital entrepreneurs increases rapidly. “While the number of Cambodian digital entrepreneurs has mushroomed in recent years, there has not been a dedicated fund available to invest in these businesses – both in terms of cash and expertise,” said Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart.

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Ministry pushes fortnightly pay

The Labor Ministry is encouraging employers, with the support of unions, to implement article 116 of the Labor Law, which requires owners of enterprises and factories to pay their workers twice a month. Fa Saly, the president of the National Trade Union Confederation, told Khmer Times on March 27 it was good the ministry decided employers must pay workers twice a month to protect them from being abandoned by employers who owe them wages. He said he supports and encourages employers to implement article 116 of the Labor Law. Workers can receive a tax exemption when their wages are paid twice monthly, he added.

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Cambodia opens trade center in Shaanxi

Cambodia will unveil another commercial center in China in May, to boost trade between the two countries and inform Chinese business people and tourists about opportunities in Cambodia. Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak on March 27 announced the plan for the center in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, at a conference to promote economic ties between the nations. He said trade between Shaanxi province and Cambodia was worth $1.29 billion in 2016, while trade with the whole of China came in at $4.5 billion. As well as being one of Cambodia’s biggest trading partners, Mr. Sorasak said the country is a major source of investment. China invested $511 million in Cambodia last year, followed by Hong Kong at $237 million, Vietnam at $192 million, Japan at $185 million and Singapore at $169 million.

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Bad noodles put more than 150 in hospital

More than 150 people were sent to the hospital after eating tainted noodles at a ceremony in Kampong Speu province’s Oudong district on Sunday. A district police officer who declined to be named told Khmer Times on March 27 that 152 people, both young and old, had fallen ill, with some feeling dizzy and others vomiting. “Residents of Kraing Tasom village attended a local ceremony where the host welcomed them by offering Khmer noodles. However, after they ate they didn’t feel well,” he said. The police officer added that they were sent to the provincial hospital after either vomiting, feeling dizzy or having a headache.

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M’sia imports aid I'nesia palm oil sector

Malaysian buyers are ramping up imports of Indonesian palm oil as local supply battles to recover from the lingering impact of last year’s crop-damaging El Nino weather pattern. Traders said world No.2 producer Malaysia was set to boost imports of palm oil and related products from top grower Indonesia by about 20,000 metric tons in March from typical monthly volumes of around 40,000 to 50,000 metric tons. The two countries churn out nearly 90 percent of the world’s palm oil, used to make products ranging from cooking oil and chocolate to soap and cosmetics.

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Draft law on trade remedies adopted

The Council of Ministers on Friday adopted a draft law on trade remedies to protect local producers, businesses, enterprises and foreign businesses operating in Cambodia from imported products being sold below their cost base. Ministry of Commerce spokeswoman Soeng Sophary said the trade remedies law will protect all businesses in the kingdom and will regulate the current flow of domestic and international trade and investment in Cambodia. “The draft trade remedies law will not affect the free market. It will affect businesses that sharply reduce prices from their cost base in a bid to fight other businesses,” she said. The draft law, with six chapters and 44 articles, will protect and help Cambodian enterprises from dishonest businesses and a flood of imported products.

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