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Monday, December 27, 2010

Cambodia's legislature passes ASEAN transport service agreements

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 27, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- The Cambodian National Assembly on Monday unanimously adopted the draft law of the ASEAN multilateral agreement on the full liberalization of air freight services and the ASEAN multilateral agreement on the full liberalization of passenger air services.

Nin Saphon, chairwoman of the commission on public works and construction of the National Assembly, said during the debate that the two agreements were to create air freight and passenger services freely, transparently and competitively with high effectiveness among ASEAN countries.

"The agreements will accelerate open sky arrangements and advance liberalization in air transport services, especially air freight services and air passenger services," she said.

"The two agreements will help Cambodia to attract more tourists and investment through air transport services from countries in the region and in the world," she said. "It will also build more confidence from foreign airline companies, especially airlines in ASEAN."

Mao Havanal, secretary of state of the secretariat of civil aviation, said during the debate that the agreements were committed to deepen and broaden the internal economic integration and linkages with the world economy to realize an ASEAN Economic Community.

"The agreements are to remove restrictions, on a gradual basis, so as to achieve greater flexibility and capacity in the operation of air freight services and air passenger services in ASEAN with a view to building a single unified aviation market of ASEAN by 2015, " he said.

The two agreements were signed on May 20, 2009 in Manila, the Philippines by the heads of the civil aviation of the 10 ASEAN countries.

ASEAN countries consist of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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Assembly Approves Loans to Correct for Overspending

The National Assembly on Monday approved the borrowing of foreign loans worth more than $300 million, after the government spent beyond its budgets for 2009 and 2010.

The move was passed by a vote of 80 lawmakers of 102 present, in a session to recorrect the national budget for the last two years.

Loans will be taken from the foreign community to refill the coffers for $46.8 million and $265 million for 2009 and 2010, respectively, according to a request from the administration to the Assembly.

Finance Minister Keat Chhon told the Assembly Monday the government has a clear policy for concessionary loans for investment in infrastructure and to promote economic growth.

Cheam Yeap, a lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and head of the National Assembly’s finance committee, said the loans would make up for deficiencies in revenue stemming from the 2008 economic crisis and from overspending from the military standoff at Preah Vihear temple.

“Cambodia needed more money to equip Cambodian soldiers to defend national sovereignty and territory,” he said.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman and lawmaker for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said Cambodia must be careful with foreign loans.

“If we depend on the loan holder who looks at hour natural resources, land, oil and mining resources, and come to violate Cambodia’s rights, and destroys our environment, we must absolutely avoid the loan,” he said.

Opposition members did not support this loan initiative because it was not clearly allocated, he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote in a statement to the Assembly the amount of these loans “will not bring Cambodian loans to a worrisome situation.”
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