EuroCham and ARISE Plus Cambodia Conclude SME Export Talks

Cambodia Investment Review

EuroCham and ARISE Plus Cambodia held the final SME Export Talk which focused on the export of services. The panel discussion brought together industry experts, including Mr. Tan Yuvaroath, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Trade Promotion at the Ministry of Commerce, to discuss the structures in place that govern service exports in Cambodia.

Mr. Yuvaroath explained that increased liberalization of the services sector would lead to more job creation, increased economic integration within the region, and ultimately increased exports. He cited data from the United Nations International Trade Statistics Database, which showed that Cambodia exported $6.09 billion in services in 2019, with the top services being personal travel, business travel, and transportation.

Read more: Small Package Exporter Champions initiates mentorship program to increase SME exports from Cambodia

However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a drop in service exports in 2019 compared to 2018, from $7.9 billion to $6.09 billion. Despite this setback, the panelists remained hopeful that the economy would recover, and service exports would pick up again.

Cambodia has various service exports

The panelists discussed various service exports that Cambodia has to offer, including dental services, marketing-related services, and consultative services. Dr. Tith Hong Yoeu, founder of Roomchang Dental Hospital, noted that dental services have become an increasingly prominent service export of Cambodia over the years, with patients traveling from around the world to receive quality dental care in the Kingdom for far cheaper prices than those offered in the region.

Read more: How can Cambodia’s e-commerce SMEs benefit from exporting?

Ms. Nancy Jaffe, Chief Strategy Officer of Mango Tango, emphasized the potential for Cambodian-based firms to export automated marketing services to global markets, as demand is rising for the automation of digital marketing-related tasks.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a drop in service exports in 2019 compared to 2018, from $7.9 billion to $6.09 billion.

One of the barriers to exporting consultative and marketing-related services was the lack of professional English communication skills in some Cambodian companies. Mr. Sopeakmonkol Sok, Co-Founder and Chairman of Codingate Technology, emphasized the need to break down barriers in international communication with AI Writing Technology, stating that “breaking down barriers in international communication with AI Writing Technology is essential for empowering Cambodian talents and businesses to reach the global market.”

Awareness of issues and offering support

The SME Export Talks, which were co-organized by ARISE Plus Cambodia and EuroCham, aimed to raise awareness of issues, offer tips to support Cambodian companies to improve their business and export performance, and break down the opportunities and challenges SMEs may face when beginning to export. The events covered 10 different topics over 2021, 2022 and early 2023, including Standards & Certifications, Food Safety Requirements, Free Trade Agreements, Certificates of Origin, Fisheries Products, Cosmetics, and more.

Mr. Youssey LAK, the advisor on Trade Information and Advocacy at ARISE Plus Cambodia, highlighted that exports create a lot of development impacts, including business revenues, social impacts by creating jobs and incomes. When exports grow, there are more jobs and incomes, making the support of Cambodian SMEs in worldwide exports, preferably to ASEAN member countries and the EU, a crucial component of their work.

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