The 6th India-CLMV Business Conclave: Building Bridges for Constructive Development - KNT Diary

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Monday, December 7, 2020

The 6th India-CLMV Business Conclave: Building Bridges for Constructive Development

H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India to Cambodia

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, has organised the 6th India-CLMV Business Conclave : Building Bridges for Constructive Development in virtual format with Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam on 3-4 December, 2020. The conclave created yet another platform to strengthen India's cooperation with the CLMV countries. The two-day event had sectoral sessions, country focus sessions and participation from Government, industry from India and the CLMV region. Apart from the sectoral sessions, a virtual exhibition spread over 15 days with enterprises from India and the CLMV countries showcasing their products and services across sectors such as agriculture (agrifood processing, farm inputs, and allied services), manufacturing, and light industry (automobiles, textiles and machine tools), power and clean energy, infrastructure, transport logistics, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, IT skills and education is also being held as part of the Business Conclave.

Ministers of Commerce/Minister of State for External Affairs /Secretary of State from India and CLMV countries participated in the Inaugural session of the Business Conclave held on 3rd December, 2020. From Cambodia, H.E. Mr. Chhuan Dara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce represented H.E. Mr. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, Royal Government of Cambodia. 

From the Indian side, speaking at the inaugural session of the Conclave, Mr. V. Muraleedharan, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs highlighted India's cooperation with the CLMV region right through the COVID-19 crisis, including provision of medicines and medical supplies to the region, training of medical personnel from the region under ITEC scheme. He added that India seeks to enhance its cooperation and collaboration with the CLMV region in terms of developing a vaccine for COVID-19 and would be willing to share the vaccine as and when it is ready. He also mentioned that it is India’s firm belief that promotion of businesses and private investments is essential for growth in CLMV region. He reiterated India’s commitment to ASEAN integration and connectivity agenda, and encouraged ASEAN countries, more especially the CLMV countries, for the utilization of USD 1 billion credit line for enhancement of physical and digital connectivity. He also mentioned that India's vision of the Indo-Pacific, of which CLMV countries are a part, envisages a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region with an emphasis on ASEAN centrality, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations in the region, peaceful resolution of disputes, avoidance of use or threat of use of force and adherence to international laws, rules and regulations. He took this opportunity to invite CLMV countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and participate in activities of seven pillars of Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), which has synergies with ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

In his remarks, H.E. Mr. Chuuan Dara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce explained about the effective steps taken by Cambodia to control the COVID-19 pandemic and also touched upon strengthening the trade facilitation mechanism in Cambodia, improving logistics, single window clearance for setting up new businesses, regional connectivity, improved position of Cambodia in Word Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index among the ASEAN countries, advantages of investing in Cambodia due to availability of trade preferences scheme with EU, US, Canada and simplified customs procedures, etc., and invited Indian companies to invest more in Cambodia. 

The CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam) have surfaced as key growth points for the ASEAN region, giving this region a wider market outreach resulting in preferential or free trade agreements with larger economies of the world and are considered to be conducive for setting up manufacturing units. Towards this end, a Project Development Fund with a corpus of USD 75 million has been created by Government of India in order to catalyse investments from Indian private sector in the CLMV region by setting up manufacturing hubs in CLMV countries. In this regard, currently two projects in Myanmar and one project each in Vietnam and Cambodia (setting up a 300-bed super-speciality hospital) have been identified for collaboration with the Indian private sector. 

A separate “Country Session” on Cambodia was organised on 4th December, 2020, which was moderated by Ambassador Anil Wadhwa, formerly Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, who is well-versed with the ASEAN region, with participation from H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India to Cambodia, H.E. Mr. Ung Sean, Ambassador of Cambodia to India, H.E. Mr. Meng Nimol. Dy. Director General of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and Advisor to the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Soun Sophal, Director of Public Relations and Promotion of Private Investment, CDC, representatives of TVS Motor Company and PWC Cambodia. While the Cambodian participants explained the investment climate in Cambodia, simplification of procedures for registration of companies, tax benefits, etc., Dr. Khobragade requested Cambodia to look at utilisation of the LoC of US$ 1 billion offered by India to ASEAN countries for connectivity projects seriously. She also highlighted the sectors and investment opportunities available in Cambodia to Indian companies and encouraged MSMEs from India to set up manufacturing units in Cambodia.

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