India-CLMV forum kicks off

Sum Manet / Khmer Times ,

Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong yesterday urged companies in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) to look to India for potential business opportunities and partners, arguing that the South Asian giant is a key ally in the economic development of these countries.

Speaking during the fifth edition of the India-CLMV Business Forum, which is being hosted in Phnom Penh from May 21-22, Mr Namhong encouraged local companies to seek new partnerships with Indian companies to benefit from their business experience and gain access to a vast market.

“The India-CLMV Business Forum serves as an important vehicle to promote economic ties between India and CLMV countries,” said Mr Namhong, who is presiding over the event together with Pan Sorasak, the Cambodian Minister of Commerce.

Other high-profile guests to the event include Suresh Prabhu, the Indian Minister of Commerce, Than Myint, Myanmar’s Minister of Commerce, and Cao Quoc Hung, Vietnam’s Vice-Minister of Industry and Trade.

Apart from promoting new business partnerships, the forum aims to provide a platform for decision makers in CLMV countries to interact with Indian companies involved in trading, manufacturing, processing, engineering, consultancy and construction.

The India-CLMV Business Forum was first organised following the conclusion of the India-Asean Free Trade Agreement on Commodities in 2009.

As a result of discussions and negotiations conducted at the forum, the flow of investment from India to Asean increased by 9.4 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak.

Naushad Forbes, president of India’s Industry Federation, said more direct flights between India and CLMV countries are needed to boost economic ties.

“We must also strive to exchange knowledge and skills in the field of food processing and agriculture,” he said.

“Through close cooperation between our governments, we hope more Indian companies will come to do business in Cambodia.”

Suresh Prabhu, meanwhile, said Indian companies can help CLMV enterprises in a number of areas, particularly in industrial development and capacity building, as well as integrating into the regional and global supply chains.