The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham Cambodia) took a significant step in fostering economic and cultural connections by launching the Central and Eastern European Business Association (CEEBAC). The official announcement was made during an exclusive “A Night out in Europe” event held at the Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh as part of Europe Week 2023.
CEEBAC, EuroCham’s latest national chapter, joins the ranks of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cambodia (CCIFC), the British Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, NordCham, the Italian-Cambodian Business Association, and Benelux Cambodia. Prior to the launch event, CEEBAC held its inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) at EuroCham to discuss the chamber’s statutes and vision.
The primary driving force behind the establishment of CEEBAC was the aim to strengthen economic and cultural ties between Central and Eastern Europe and Cambodia. The historical connection between the two regions dates back to the 1960s, with King Norodom Sihamoni having studied in Prague from 1962 to 1975 and maintaining fluency in Czech. His affinity for the Czech Republic has led him to consider it his second home.
Importance of private-public partnerships
Tomas Pokorny, CEO of Pi Pay and a serial entrepreneur from the Czech Republic, expressed his excitement for the potential of CEEBAC in facilitating a stronger relationship between his home country and Cambodia. He stated, “With this new chapter extended to Central and Eastern European countries, EuroCham in Cambodia reaffirms its leadership as a business platform, unlocking economic opportunities for companies located in two of the world’s most prominent markets.”
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The launch event was graced by the presence of Her Excellency Carmen Moreno, the EU Ambassador to Cambodia, who warmly welcomed the newest addition to EuroCham’s family. She emphasized the growing interest that Cambodia has for European companies and highlighted the untapped potential in various sectors, making the country an attractive destination for investments.
The founding of CEEBAC under EuroCham’s umbrella signifies the importance of private-public partnerships in building economic ties. Tomas Pokorny emphasized the need for commercial support alongside government backing to foster mutually beneficial relationships. By establishing CEEBAC, EuroCham aims to create a platform that promotes trade, investment, and cultural exchange between Central and Eastern European countries and Cambodia.
The trade potential between the region and Cambodia is vast, particularly in the tech and engineering goods and services sectors. Eastern Europe is renowned for its production of light and heavy machinery, including medical equipment and aeronautics. Additionally, opportunities abound in the food and beverage sector, with products such as Czech beer already making their way onto Cambodian store shelves through collaborative efforts by the Embassy of the Czech Republic and local logistics companies.
Platform to strengthen economic partnerships
EuroCham Chairman Tassilo Brinzer highlighted that the launch of CEEBAC will further solidify the already strong ties between Cambodia and Europe. He emphasized that CEEBAC provides an additional platform to strengthen economic partnerships, fostering bilateral engagement and creating opportunities for trade, investment, and cultural exchange. By representing 11 additional countries within EuroCham’s 27-country strong family, CEEBAC will play a vital role in promoting their markets and activities.
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CEEBAC aims to support countries such as Bulgaria, Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. By coordinating interests, facilitating exchange, and organizing events and business missions, CEEBAC will enable these countries to actively participate in Cambodia’s economic landscape.
EuroCham Cambodia, established in 2011, acts as the official chamber of the European business community in Cambodia. With over 300 members and five national chapters representing 11 European countries, EuroCham Cambodia has been instrumental in promoting, supporting, and representing its members and European business interests in dialogue with the Royal Government of Cambodia.
EuroCham’s key objectives revolve around fostering a more efficient and fertile business and investment environment for all stakeholders involved.
These objectives include:
Consulting and Advocating: EuroCham Cambodia plays a vital role in consulting and advocating on key issues related to doing business in Cambodia. By engaging in constructive dialogue with the government, EuroCham works towards addressing challenges, streamlining regulations, and creating a more favorable business climate.
- Promoting Investment: EuroCham actively promotes investment in Cambodia, highlighting the country’s potential and opportunities to European businesses. By showcasing the benefits of investing in Cambodia and facilitating connections between investors and local partners, EuroCham contributes to the growth of the country’s economy.
- Enhancing Market Access: One of EuroCham’s priorities is to improve access for European businesses to the Cambodian market and vice versa. By providing market information, facilitating trade missions, and organizing networking events, EuroCham helps businesses establish and expand their presence in Cambodia, fostering bilateral trade relationships.
- Providing Business Services: EuroCham offers a range of services related to economic, legal, technical, financial, and market aspects of doing business in the European Union and Cambodia. These services include providing industry-specific information, facilitating partnerships, and offering support to investors, thereby enabling a more efficient and informed business environment.
- Promoting European Union Identity: EuroCham Cambodia aims to promote a strong European Union business identity vis-à-vis the Cambodian business community. By creating awareness about the diverse offerings and expertise of European businesses, EuroCham contributes to building trust and fostering collaborations between European and Cambodian companies.
- Collaborating with Cambodian Stakeholders: EuroCham works closely with various Cambodian stakeholders, recognizing the importance of inclusive and sustainable economic growth. By engaging with government agencies, industry associations, and local communities, EuroCham strives to contribute to Cambodia’s development and prosperity.
Expanding reach and strengthening trade and business ties
With the launch of CEEBAC, EuroCham takes a significant stride towards expanding its reach and strengthening trade and business ties between Cambodia and Central and Eastern European countries. The establishment of this new chapter provides a platform for greater coordination, exchange, and collaboration among these countries, furthering economic partnerships and opening up avenues for trade, investment, and cultural exchange.
The inclusion of Bulgaria, Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia within CEEBAC’s scope highlights the potential for growth and mutually beneficial cooperation in various sectors. By leveraging the geographic advantages of Cambodia and the strengths of Central and Eastern European countries, CEEBAC aims to unlock new opportunities and facilitate meaningful business engagements.
EuroCham Cambodia, through its initiatives and chapters like CEEBAC, continues to play a pivotal role in advancing trade, investment, and economic interactions between Europe and Cambodia. With a strong emphasis on collaboration, advocacy, and support, EuroCham contributes to the inclusive and sustainable growth of the Cambodian economy while forging enduring partnerships between European and Cambodian businesses.