|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (right) and Cambodian counterpart Samdech Hun Sen attend the inauguration ceremony of Cho Ray-Phnom Penh Hospital in Phnom Penh yesterday.—VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
PHNOM PENH (VNS)— Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday expressed confidence that Cambodia will become a prosperous nation enjoying higher stature in the region and beyond.
In talks held with his counterpart Hun Sen in Phnom Penh, Dung congratulated the Cambodian Government led by his host for significant achievements recorded since the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime was toppled 35 years ago with Vietnamese help.
The Vietnamese leader also hailed the decision to send a delegation led by Cambodian National Assembly Chairman Heng Samrin to Viet Nam to attend the ceremony commemorating the 35th anniversary of the victory in the southwest border defence war and the joint victory of Viet Nam and Cambodia over the genocidal regime (January 7).
He said the delegation's participation in the ceremony had contributed to boosting the ties of friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance between the two peoples. It affirmed the just cause that the Cambodian and Vietnamese soldiers and fought for - to overthrow Khmer Rouge, the most brutal regime in the history of mankind, he said.
Discussing ways to further advance the bilateral partnership between the two neighbouring nations, Dung and Hun Sen expressed their determination to raise two-way trade to US$5 billion by 2015.
They noted with pleasure the growth in all-around bilateral cooperation in recent years and pledged further support for Vietnamese firms to do long-term business in Cambodia.
Earlier, the same day, the two prime ministers co-chaired the 4th Viet Nam-Cambodia Investment Cooperation Conference.
Dung said the Vietnamese Government would continue to create favourable conditions for Cambodian enterprises to invest and do business in Viet Nam.
Highlighting the connectivity potential and opportunities shared by the two countries, he said the Vietnamese Government has issued a number of policies supporting enterprises operating in both countries, including tariff cuts and land rent reductions.
Dung suggested that relevant agencies of both sides work together to put the Viet Nam-Cambodia Investment Encouragement and Protection Agreement into force soon.
In particular, the two sides should work for the early signing of a double taxation avoidance agreement and the upgrading of a co-operation deal on rubber plantations, he said.
Dung also stressed the importance of trade promotion to allow enterprises to establish new partnerships in areas of great promise including finance, agricultural product processing, forestry (especially rubber planting) and distribution channels for major products.
Hun Sen said the strong cooperation between the two countries within the sub-regional and regional framework has optimised advantages and potentials for enterprises.
Cambodia's abundant source of produce can create win-win situations for the nation's farmers as well as Vietnamese agricultural produce processors, he said.
Cambodia always backs all Viet Nam-funded projects in the country, Hun said stressed, adding that the country would make more efforts to improve its investment environment and maintain Vietnamese investors' confidence.
Tran Bac Ha, President of the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Cambodia, noted that in 2013, Viet Nam's registered investment in Cambodia totalled $3 billion, with 127 projects, a six-fold increase in the total investment and over three times the number of projects before 2010.
He said Viet Nam was now the fifth largest foreign investor in Cambodia, with projects in agro-forestry, aquaculture, energy, finance, banking, insurance, telecommunications and aviation helping spur the neighboring nation's economic development.
Two-way trade between the two countries has also registered a average annual increase of 30 per cent, Ha said.
Viet Nam's major exports to Cambodia include fuel and steel, while it buys rubber latex, wood and wooden products.
Conference delegates urged the two Governments to reach a consensus on ways to boost long-term economic co-operation, while issuing specific policies for projects along their common border to ensure security.
They also spoke of the necessity to build an information portal between the two Governments to provide businesses with updated information on policies.
Dung and Hun Sen later witnessed the granting of a investment licence for Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk) to build a $23 million factory in Cambodia.
They also witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam and Cambodia's Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to provide 50 scholarships for Cambodian students to study in Viet Nam.
Also yesterday, Prime Minister Dung called on Vietnamese localities, businesses and hospitals to invest in Cambodia's healthcare sector.
He made the appeal when speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Cho Ray-Phnom Penh General Hospital in the Cambodian capital, the first co-operative healthcare venture between the two countries.
Dung said he valued the close collaboration between municipal leaders of HCM City and Phnom Penh evidenced in establishing the new hospital as well as efforts made by the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Cambodia, the Bank of Investment and Development of Viet Nam and the Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia in funding it.
Cambodian PM Hun Sen expressed confidence the hospital would provide high quality healthcare to Cambodians and become a prestigious facility in the country, also providing a platform for medical professionals of both countries to share their experience and expertise.
Construction of the hospital began in May 2010 with a total investment of around $40 million. The hospital now has 200 beds, which will increase to 300 in the second phase.
The hospital is expected to help ease overcrowding in other Cambodian hospitals and meet increasing demand for quality healthcare services in Phnom Penh and neighbouring areas. — VNS