The Ministry of Commerce has renewed its commitment to boost the sale of potential Cambodian products at home and abroad in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak, setting up a working group towards this end as a “pillar”.

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak on August 30 chaired the first meeting of the working group, tasked with addressing the challenges hindering the market of Cambodian products, and shoring up their sales domestically and abroad.

He said the ministry has been making tremendous efforts to introduce and implement policies and strategies designed to promote the potential of Cambodian goods on domestic and foreign markets.

“The ministry has been promoting competitiveness through the development of laws and regulations, including the laws on e-commerce, consumer protection and competition, as well as the institutional reform of the Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General, and the establishment of a working group under the Ministry of Commerce as a pillar,” Sorasak said.

He added that the ministry has launched digital projects such as Go4Cam and to connect micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

The ministry has led negotiations for bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTA) to provide improved market access, he said.

He cited as examples the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the bilateral Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), the Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) and other bilateral FTAs in the pipeline.

The ministry also continues to undertake a campaign to promote Cambodian production through virtual trade fairs to shore up domestic goods during Covid.

“Through the implementation of the aforementioned mechanism, the Ministry of Commerce has established this working group to address challenges in a smoother and even more effective manner to promote the sale of Cambodian products in both domestic and foreign markets, and export abroad more widely,” Sorasak said.

The working group was set up with the main purpose of assisting farmers in selling their products – domestically or abroad, ensuring the availability of better quality and more affordable consumer goods, and to give a leg up to businesses, thereby allowing them to conduct operations more smoothly and competitively, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng noted that the Royal Government of Cambodia, through the ministry and its agriculture counterpart, is directly engaged in supporting and enhancing exports, especially of agricultural products.

He told The Post: “In order to foster the export of Cambodian products, the private sector needs to work with relevant ministries and institutions on the groundwork for improvements in packaging techniques, increasing competitiveness and removing obstructions for the private sector, which is something that the government has always helped with in the past.”

He emphasised that the CCC has also made significant contributions to government efforts in lifting Cambodian exports.

“We have contributed inputs to reduce costs at forums between the private sector and the state, which has facilitated the processing and publication of various documents related to the import-export of goods, especially concerning taxes and customs, and we will continue to attract more investors to invest in Cambodia,” Heng said.

The minister affirmed that he offered some recommendations to the working group on the direction of implementation, in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the team’s primary focus.

One of these was to liaise with sector-specific working groups and share knowledge, ideas and experiences to synchronise tasks and ensure that the groups complement each other on an ongoing basis, he noted.