Despite the fact that many Vietnamese companies are increasing their investments in the promising Cambodian market, they are still facing with a number of difficulties and have asked the Government for more support.

Vietnamese firms have entered Cambodia in the fields of farm produce, finance, telecommunications, hydro-power and cash crops such as rubber, tea, sugar cane and peanuts, all areas in which the Cambodian Government has encouraged overseas investment.

In 2008, Vietnam had just 13 projects in Cambodia with a total registered capital of 150 million USD. Those figures have increased to 60 projects worth 600 USD million today.

Tran Bac Ha, chairman of the Overseas Vietnamese Association in Cambodia , said agriculture was a promising sector because about 80 percent of the total Cambodian population lived off farming and the Cambodian Government planned to become a rice exporting country by 2015.

The Five Star International Group has invested 65 million USD on a fertiliser production factory in Cambodia .

The Vietnam Southern Food Corporation has established a joint venture with the Cambodian Green Trade Company to upgrade a storage and rice production facility in an effort to start exporting 500,000-700,000 tonnes of rice by 2015.

"Vietnamese firms need support from the two governments with appropriate policies. To attract more Vietnamese investment in Cambodia , the two sides would devise an agricultural cooperation programme," Ha said.

The Vietnamese side could provide support to raise productivity. The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade would assist companies by supplying fertiliser and pesticide as well as expanding distribution systems, he said.

Director general of the Five Star International Group Truong Van Muoi said although fertiliser supply in the Cambodian market failed to meet demand, there were still concerns over fertiliser of unclear origins.

Enterprises operating in mineral exploitation and cash crops that require large labour forces also said they had run into difficulties.

A representative of the Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industry Group said that according to the Cambodian Labour Law, the number of foreign workers permitted to work on a project was limited to 10 percent of the total labour force, despite a shortage of human resources.

Another representative from the Overseas Vietnamese Association in Cambodia said Vietnam should complete the amendment of Decree No 78/2006/ND-CP on Vietnam 's overseas investment activities to speed up the licensing process.

To bolster investment in Cambodia , the association also asked the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance to set up a support fund. In addition, the Ministry of Planning and Investment should submit a list of sectors in which it wants to encourage overseas investment to the Government, with specific and preferential policies to go with it./.