A new business association representing Cambodian and Chinese businessmen has been established to drive more investment in small- and medium-sized enterprises enterprises (SME) as well as encourage start-ups to take advantage of free trade agreements (FTA).

The Cambodia Chinese Commerce Association (CCCA), inaugurated on May 25, is a branch of China Business Association in Asia, whose president is Dr. Ben Li & Mrs. Catherine Chan, Honorably Chairman & Chairlady of Urban Village, a mixed development project on Hun Sen Boulevard.

According to Li, the setting up of CCCA is timely as it aims to attract local players and those from Singapore and Malaysia, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China to expand their business in the current economic climate, particularly in trade and the development of SMEs.

Li said CCCA also hopes traders and investors would exchange experience and support each other in any sector, be it transportation or insurance services.

“We know that in the past, new investors from markets like Malaysia and Hong Kong wanted to invest here but it was not easy to start a new business in Cambodia.

“But now it is not a problem anymore because the Chinese Business Association, which has opened a branch in Cambodia, will support these new businesses,” he asserted.

Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd CEO Keo Mom said CCCA has a “great potential” to attract Chinese investors, especially those from Hong Kong, and is a “good opportunity” for Cambodian SMEs to partner up to expand their business.

She commented that the Cambodian government has created a favourable and convenient environment for investors, which has enabled investments to grow in the Kingdom despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The SME sector is the backbone of the economy, which has helped it to grow. So today we have helped many investment partners who are interested in SMEs in Cambodia, especially in the food processing sector.

“We hope that CCCA will bring in more traders and investors to Cambodia to spur economic growth as a whole,” she told The Post.

Cambodia was ASEAN’s biggest exporter to China from January to March this year – in the first quarter of the bilateral Cambodia-China FTA, according to trade officials at the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh.

Official statistics from the Chinese embassy revealed that Sino-Cambodian trade volume reached $3.75 billion, up 39.2 per cent year-on-year, in the first quarter of this year.

In the same period, Chinese non-financial direct investment in Cambodia was $206 million, up 35.2 per cent year-on-year, while the Kingdom’s investment in China stood at $24.86 million, up 255 per cent year-on-year.