Remarks by Ambassador William A. Heidt at the Coca-Cola Factory Inauguration

Coca-Cola Factory, Phnom Penh
December 5, 2016
(as prepared for delivery)

SAMDECH AKKA MOHA SENA PADEI TECHO HUN SEN, PRIME MINISTER OF CAMBODIA, Your Excellency Cham Prasith, Senior Minister and Minister of Industry and Handicrafts, Mr. Irial Finan,  Executive Vice President of The Coca-Cola Company, deputy prime ministers, ministers and colleagues from the Royal Government of Cambodia and the private sector, employees of the Coca-Cola Company, distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen.

នាព្រឹកនេះ ខ្ញុំមានក្តីសោមនស្សរីករាយ និងមានកិត្តិយស ដែលបានចូលរួមក្នុងពិធិសម្ពោធរោងចក្រ កូកា-កូឡាដ៏ទំនើបនេះ ។ និមិត្តសញ្ញារបស់ក្រុមហ៊ុនកូកា-កូឡា ដែលមានព៌ណក្រហមលាយស ដែលយើងកំពុងមើលឃើញទាំងអស់គ្នានៅពីក្រោយខ្នងខ្ញុំនេះ ត្រូវបានគេស្គាល់ទូទាំងពិភពលោក។ យើងតែងតែប្រទះឃើញសញ្ញានេះ ទាំងនៅតាមអាគារពាណិជ្ជកម្មខ្ពស់ៗដែលលម្អទៅដោយភ្លើងពណ៌ចិញ្ចែងចិញ្ចាច ដែលយើងឃើញរាល់ថ្ងៃនៅក្នុងទីក្រុងភ្នំពេញ ទាំងនៅតាមតូបលក់អីវ៉ាន់តាមផ្លូវ និងតាមទីជនបទ។

ក្នុងនាមជាឯកអគ្គរដ្ឋទូតសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកប្រចាំកម្ពុជា ខ្ញុំពិតជាមានមោទនភាពក្រៃលែង ដែលក្រុមហ៊ុនអាមេរិក   ដ៏ល្បីល្បាញមកពីក្រុង Atlanta នៃរដ្ឋ Georgia មួយនេះ បានសម្រេចចិត្តបោះទុនវិនិយោគយ៉ាងច្រើន នៅកម្ពុជាតាមរយៈការបើករោងចក្រដ៏ទំនើប នៅក្នុងតំបន់សេដ្ឋកិច្ចពិសេស ដ៏ស្រស់បំព្រងនេះ។

ឥឡូវនេះ ខ្ញុំបាននិយាយខ្មែរគ្រប់គ្រាន់ហើយ។ តទៅទៀត ខ្ញុំនិយាយភាសាអង់គ្លេស។

The red and white symbol of Coca-Cola’s brand that you see around this room is known throughout the world, in gleaming office towers like the ones we see in Phnom Penh to rural roadside stands.

This ceremony today is important for several reasons.  It shows the success of the Government’s hard work over many years to attract foreign investment through an open investment regime, modern special economic zones, improved tax administration, and other business-friendly reforms.    I believe other foreign investors – and hopefully many from America – will view this new plant as a symbol of Cambodia’s potential and a sign that Cambodia is ready for business.

The inauguration of this plant is also a great example of how Cambodia can move up the technology ladder and develop more sophisticated products both for its domestic market and for export.

Coca-Cola has brought to Cambodia its newest and most innovative production technologies, including solar panels to help power the factory and an efficient new water treatment facility.  This fits perfectly with the government’s industrial development policy, which places a very high priority on diversifying to new industries such as agricultural products and food processing.

This plant also says a lot about Coca Cola’s values.  Coke is well known for its very progressive corporate social responsibility practices, especially its global commitment to empowering women.

When I visited Coca-Cola’s previous plant in Phnom Penh, I was inspired to find dozens of female employees in non-traditional roles, including six female truck drivers and a group of what I think are Cambodia’s first female fork lift operators!  Coca Cola has also contributed to local communities in Cambodia through its Clean Water for the Community Program, youth development workshops and seminars, and Women’s Economic Empowerment program.

With these brief comments let me offer my congratulations once again to Coca-Cola and H.E. Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian Government on the opening of this factory

Thank you very much.