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Cambodia expects 7 pct GDP growth in 2012:Comrade Finance Minister Chhon

PHNOM PENH, March 12 (Xinhua) — Cambodia’s Finance Minister Keat Chhon said Monday that the country’s Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) growth is expected at 7 % this year.

The forecast is higher than that of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank — all forecast at 6.5 % this year.

Cambodia’s forecast was based on the increases in garments exports, tourist arrivals, and agriculture as well as a gradually recovered real estate sector, the minister told reporters after a meeting at the Ministry of Commerce.

The country is highly sensitive to economic activity in the United States and Europe, which account for about two thirds of its total exports and the bulk of high-end tourist arrivals, according to the IMF’s report released at the end of last month.

However, Keat Chhon said Cambodia’s economy was still robust in 2012 and 2013 despite some impacts from the debt crisis in Europe and slow economic recovery in the United States, and the country still expected increases in garment exports to the two regions this year.

He added that to boost exports, the country has also been diversifying its exports to other Asian countries including China and Japan, not just relying on the Europe’s and the United States’ markets.

Meanwhile, he said that Cambodia is optimistic to attract more foreign investments in coming years thanks to the country’s preferential laws, improving infrastructures, and better trade facilitations, and preferential conditions in Asian countries for investors.

Cambodia’s GDP in 2011 was 7 %, or 13 billion U.S. dollars, according to the government report.

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