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UKABC Forum on Sustainable Investment Opportunities in Cambodia


Cambodia has sustained an average growth rate of 8% between 1998 and 2018, according to the World Bank, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The drivers of Cambodia’s economy – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates a 4% contraction of GDP in 2020. However, with careful management of its borders, Cambodia has kept infection rates and deaths relatively low with ADB forecasting growth of 5.9% this year.

Cambodia is the 10th member of ASEAN, having joined in 1999 and has benefited from an increase in regional trade volumes as part of the ASEAN Free Trade Area and with ASEAN’s external economic partners. Cambodia is regarded as an investment-friendly destination, due to its geographical advantages, membership of ASEAN and the World Trade Organisation, and its open market policies. Cambodia will be Chair of ASEAN in 2022.

Over the past 20 years, Cambodia has seen an increase of FDI from China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. There has also been significant investment from the US and the European Union. Investment has flowed mainly into infrastructure, the garment industry and the tourism sector. The garment and tourism sectors have been significantly impacted by pandemic due to reduced global demand and the inability to travel.

This webinar will feature a keynote address by the Secretary-General of the Council for Development of Cambodia who will speak on the investment environment and related legislation, as well as key areas of focus for Cambodia’s sustainable growth and recovery from COVID-19. We will also hear directly from several leading Cambodian companies who are contributing to the recovery across a broad spectrum of sectors.

Areas of Discussion

  • What is the short and medium outlook for Cambodia’s economy?
  • What are the key opportunities for British business?
  • What are the latest developments in Cambodia’s investment regulations?


08.58 Access to webinar opens

09.00 Welcome Remarks
• Baroness Neville-Rolfe, DBE, CMG, Chair, UK-ASEAN Business Council
• H.E. Mr KAN Pharidh, Ambassador, Royal Embassy of Cambodia to the UK
• Tina Redshaw, British Ambassador to Cambodia

09.05 Opening Remarks
• Heather Wheeler MP, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam

09.10 Keynote Address by Secretary-General of the Council for Development of Cambodia
• H.E. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, Secretary-General of the Council for Development of Cambodia.

09.20 Panel Discussion 
Scene Setting by James Roberts, Country Head, KPMG Cambodia
• Mr Reththa Mong, Oknha Mong Reththa, Vice President, Mong Reththy Group Co., Ltd.
• Ms Chantha Sok, Vice Chairwoman, Sokimex Investment Group Co., Ltd.
• Charles Esterhoy III, CEO, Worldbridge Industrial Developments Co. Ltd.
Chaired by Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE, Chair, UK-ASEAN Business Council

10.15 Forum ends

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Speaker Profiles

Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Chair, UK-ASEAN Business Council

Lucy has had 3 careers, in politics in business and in the civil service.

Currently, she is a Conservative peer, sitting on the Lords EU Committee (and its Financial Services sub-committee), is Chairman of Crown Agents (a not-for-profit business dating back to 1833) and is a non-executive director of Capita plc, Secure Trust Bank Plc, Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company and Health Data Research UK.

Lucy became a peer in 2013 and was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Minister for Intellectual Property from 2014-2016. She represented the UK on the Digital Single Market and in the EU Competitiveness Council. From 2016-2017 she was the Minister of State responsible for Energy and then Commercial Secretary at the Treasury.

Lucy’s main career was at Tesco from 1997-2013, as Director for Corporate and Legal Affairs, and she served on the Main Board from 2006-2013.

Lucy has previously been a non-executive director of ITV, PwC, Metro AG and other companies. She was President of EuroCommerce, the Brussels retail and wholesale Trade Association, and served on the China Britain Business Council, the UK India Business Council and the CBI Economics Committee.

Before her career at Tesco she was a civil servant and a member of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit in Downing Street, having spent her earlier career in what is now DEFRA.

Lucy is an honorary fellow of her old college, Somerville College, Oxford. She is married with four sons and is interested in the arts, cricket, racing and gardening. She lives in Southwark and Wiltshire.

Tina Redshaw, British Ambassador to Cambodia

Tina Redshaw became the first female British Ambassador to Cambodia in July 2018. Prior to taking up her role in Cambodia, she spent 18 months learning the Khmer language.

Tina has extensive experience in Asia, having served twice in the British Embassy in Beijing (2000 to 2003 and 2007 to 2010), and most recently as the British Consul-General in Chongqing (2013 to 2016). Tina was Her Majesty`s Ambassador to Timor-Leste from 2003 to 2007. In London Tina has worked as Deputy Head of Climate Change and Energy and in both the China and South East Asia Departments.

Follow Tina on Twitter: @tsredshaw

H.E. Mr KAN Pharidh, Ambassador, Royal Embassy of Cambodia to the UK

Please click here to view the Ambassador’s full Curriculum Vitae.

Heather Wheeler MP, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam

Heather Wheeler was a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 26 July 2019 to 13 February 2020.

She was previously a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from 9 January 2018 to 25 July 2019. She was a Junior Lord of the Treasury (Government Whip) from 15 June 2017 to 8 January 2018 and she was Assistant Government Whip from 17 July 2016 to 15 June 2017.

She was elected Conservative MP for South Derbyshire in May 2010.

H.E. (Mr) Chenda Sophea Sok, Minister attached to the Prime Minister Secretary-General of the Council for the Development of Cambodia

Chenda Sophea Sok became in September 1997 Secretary-General of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), an agency of the Royal Government of Cambodia responsible for the rehabilitation, development and the oversight of investment activities. Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia is the CDC’s Chairman. The CDC consists of three executive boards: the Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board (CRDB), responsible for public investments and the coordination of international assistance, the Cambodian Investment Board (CIB) dealing with private investments and the Cambodian Special Economic Zones Board (CSEZB) tasked to promote and manage Special Economic Zones.

Chenda Sophea Sok is a Vice-Chairman of the Supreme National Economic Council. He is the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) Council Member and also serves as Cambodia GMS Minister.

Prior to his appointment at the CDC, Chenda Sophea Sok was Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Tourism, from 1993 to 1997.

Prior to his government service, Chenda Sophea Sok was working in France for Private Companies. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Economic Sciences – Aix en Provence – FRANCE.

James Roberts, Country Head, KPMG Cambodia

James is a Chartered Accountant from the UK, with more than a decade advising investors in Cambodia.

James draws on a range of experience derived from his background in Audit, tax and consulting. He has extensive experience advising senior business professionals across Europe and Asia. Within his current role as leader of KPMG Advisory business in Cambodia, he is required to leverage his experience in Mergers and Acquisitions, business valuation, and in the delivery transformational programs.

He works extensively to assist new investors in establishing their business in Cambodia and to help established investors to seek strategic partners to develop or exit their businesses.

James previously served as a non-executive director for a number of businesses and as treasurer for International Business Chambers (IBC).

H.E. (Mr) Reththa Mong, Oknha Mong Reththa is the current Vice President of Mong Reththy Group Co., Ltd (Cambodia)

He graduated from Thames University Singapore in 1999 with a Bachelors in Business Administration (Honors). Since that time he has been working in the Mong Reththy Group cutting his teeth in the Cambodian business environment while retaining strict international standards and expectations within the company. He is now managing the bulk of running the company and its many subsidiaries.

Under his portfolio, he has directorship & runs in part or whole of the following companies.

-Mong Reththy Investment Cambodia Palm Oil Co., Ltd (1996)
-Oknha Mong Port Co., Ltd (2006)
-Multico MS Cambodia Co., Ltd (2008)
-M’s Pig ACMC (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. (2008)
-Kingdom Fruits International Co., Ltd (2013)
-Yamamoto Race Circuit Co., Ltd (2019)

The previously mentioned companies employ a combined total of more than 5,000 local employees and have international partners and shareholders from Thailand, Japan & Singapore to name a few.

At the moment Oknha Mong Reththa is focusing on expanding the group’s businesses within the domestic market of Cambodia and looking for new opportunities to bring more international services and products into the country.

H.E. (Ms.) Chantha SOK, Vice Chairwoman of Sokimex Investment Group Co., Ltd.

She graduated from Monash University Australia in 2008 in the field of Business Administration.

Under her portfolio she has directorship and runs in part or whole of the following companies:

-Sok Kong Import Export Co.,Ltd : Working on petroleum production distribution
-Sokha Hotel Co.,Ltd : Working on hotel and tourism industries
-Sokha Real Estate Co.,Ltd : Working on property development
-Bokor Farm Co.,Ltd : Working on the growing of hydroponic and organic vegetables, animals, and fruit trees
-Kong Hong Co.,Ltd : Working on garment manufacturing

At the moment, Ms Sok Chantha is focusing on expanding the group business within the domestic market of Cambodia, especially the property development and hospitality sectors, and looking for new investment opportunities.

Mr Charles J. Esterhoy III, CEO, Worldbridge Industrial Developments Co. Ltd.

Charles Esterhoy is the CEO of Worldbridge Industrial Developments Co. Ltd. who for the past 6 years has been an active leader in shaping Cambodia’s transition from a low value based manufacturing environment into one where diversified manufacturing, effective SME utilization, innovation & entrepreneurship and competitive value chains using an integrated I4.0 operating environment ad ecosystems will play the predominant role in Cambodia’s industrial development.

Mr Esterhoy studied Architecture at the University of Cincinnati from 1982 – 1989. Upon graduation, he moved to Asia where he has spent 31 years in Japan, Singapore, India and Vietnam as a Project Manager. In 2014, he moved to Cambodia as the COO of the Phnom Penh SEZ and in 2015 joined the Worldbridge Group as the COO of the Kerry Worldbridge SEZ and in late 2017, took over leadership of the Worldbridge i4.0 SME Cluster Project.

Mr Esterhoy is a former Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia. Chairman of the EuroCham Transport & Logistics Committee and a contributing member of the Logistics Advisory Board to the Senior Minister of the Ministry of Public Works & Transport.

Key information for UK companies – UK Export Finance (UKEF)

UKEF is the UK’s export credit agency and a government department, working alongside the Department for International Trade as an integral part of its strategy and operations.

They work with over 100 private credit insurers and lenders to help UK companies access export finance (the particular class of loans, insurance policies or bank guarantees that enable international trade to take place as easily and securely as possible). They exist to complement not compete with the private sector.

They can help UK companies to:

  • win export contracts by providing attractive financing terms to their buyers
  • fulfil contracts by supporting working capital loans
  • get paid by insuring against buyer default

They can support exports for any size of company and across all sectors, from capital goods to services and intangibles such as intellectual property.

For more information, please visit: https://www.great.gov.uk/get-finance/

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