Last week the Danish Ambassador to Cambodia and Thailand, Mikael Hemniti Winther, sat down with Pnhom Penh Post and talked about Danish businesses in Cambodia. Even though there is relatively few Danish companies involved in Cambodia at the moment, Mikael Hemniti Winther sees a potential.
“I think there are fairly good opportunities for Danish businesses in Cambodia. Cambodia provides an open economy with hard working people and economic growth. Traditionally, it has been the textile sector that has attracted foreign investors to Cambodia, but there are other areas that could be attractive for Denmark, in particular the oil and energy sector when it is more developed,” he tells Phnom Penh Post.
Mikael Hemniti Winther believes that Cambodia can benefit from Danish companies, due to the quality of the products and the level of corporate social responsibilities. He says that Danish companies have a significant focus on environment and the wellbeing of their employees, and that this will benefit Cambodia especially in sensitive areas where the legislation or the enforcement of the legislation may not be so high.
Not without challenges
In the interview corruption and other obstacles for companies, that potentially want to expand into Cambodia was discussed. Mikael Hemniti Winther tell Phnom Penh Post about the challenges.
“They include, at times, political unpredictability and some unrest that deters investors. It also includes transparency issues in the public sector and corruption. With some areas of weak legislation or areas where enforcement of the law is insufficient, there are also reputational risks associated with investments that Danish companies are analyzing very carefully before coming to Cambodia,” he says.
According to Mikael Hemniti Winther corruption creates an environment of unclarity, unpredictability and costs that cannot be legally accounted for. He has one clear message for Danish companies that wants to operate in Cambodia.
“Corruption is illegal and punishable by law. Danish companies must therefore operate with partners in Cambodia which has the same values and always make it very clear to counterparts that there are no corrupt practices applied,” he tells Phnom Penh Post.