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UK looks to boost ties with Cambodia, ASEAN

Posted Date: Wednesday, 4-Jul-2012

British Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne said Tuesday that the United Kingdom has set its political program to strengthen and expand relationship with Cambodia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Browne made the remarks during a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace, according to Eang Sophallet, spokesman for Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Browne said the UK has laid out a foreign policy to work closely with ASEAN as the ASEAN has been working closely toward a community by 2015, adding that the UK is committed to doubling trade volume with ASEAN in the next five years.

On the bilateral relation with Cambodia, Browne pledged to encourage more British investors to Cambodia.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen said the UK-Cambodia ties in trade, investment and tourism are very good and hopes to see further growth in these fields in the coming years.

According to the British Embassy, currently, over 15 UK companies have set up offices in Cambodia in different sectors including the garment and footwear industry, banking and finance, engineering and architecture, education, hospitality and property services.

The UK is the fourth largest investor in Cambodia. According to the report of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, since 1994 to 2011, Cambodia had received the UK's promised investment of $2.4 billion.

On the bilateral trade, during the first quarter of this year, the two-way trade was $178 million, up 48 percent compared to the same period last year.

Browne arrived here on Monday evening for a two-day visit. His visit is a part of a regional program to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China's Hong Kong, according to a press release from the British Embassy in Phnom Penh.

He is the first foreign office minister from the current UK government to visit Cambodia, following the Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan, who was here in May.

Sourced: globaltimes