PHNOM PENH, 2 MARCH – On 28 February, EuroCham and ARISE Plus Cambodia hosted their 10th and final SME Export Talk at Raintree Cambodia titled “SME Export Talk 10: Export of Services”. The final talk focused on some of the most popular service exports from Cambodia, including tourism, dentistry, and consultative services.
Mr. Tan Yuvaroath, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Trade Promotion at the Ministry of Commerce, outlined the structures in place that govern service exports in Cambodia, including the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the various services chapters that are contained in Cambodia’s free trade agreements.
Increased liberalisation of the services sector, he said would lead to increased exports, more job creation, and more economic integration within the region. Referencing data from the United Nations International Trade Statistics Database, Mr. Tan said Cambodia exported $6.09 billion in services in 2019. Top services exported included personal travel ($3.42 billion), business travel ($1.35 billion), and transportation ($786 million).
The 2019 figures represented a drop from the $7.9 billion worth of services exported from Cambodia in 2018, due to Covid-19. However, there remains hope for services to pick back up again as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic.
One barrier to exporting consultative and marketing-related services was the lack of professional English communication skills in some Cambodian companies, according to Mr. Sopeakmonkol Sok, Co-Founder and Chairman of Codingate Technology.
"Breaking down barriers in international communication with AI Writing Technology is essential for empowering Cambodian talents and businesses to reach the global market,” he said.
Sok added: “Cambodia has the potential to become a regional outsourcing destination for software development, call centers, a destination for medical tourism, and more.”
Dr. Tith Hong Yoeu, founder of Roomchang Dental Hospital, said dental services have indeed 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.
Ms. Nancy Jaffe, Chief Strategy Officer of Mango Tango, said there was 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 SME Export Talks were co-organized by the ARISE Plus Cambodia and EuroCham with financial support from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The events were conducted over 2021, 2022 and early 2023, covering 10 different topics of relevance to Cambodia’s SMEs and export. The events aimed to raise awareness of issues, offer tips that can 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 topics covered included: 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, said: “Among others, ARISE supports Cambodian SMEs in worldwide exports, preferably to ASEAN member countries and the EU. Exports create a lot of development impacts, not only business revenues, but also social impacts by creating jobs and incomes. When exports grow, there are more jobs and incomes.”
About EuroCham Cambodia
The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham Cambodia) was created in 2011by French, German and British business associations in Cambodia to act as the official chamber of the European business community in the Kingdom. Since then, it has grown to over 300 members and 5 national chapters, comprising 11European countries. EuroCham Cambodia's core activities are to promote, support and represent its members and European business interests in dialogue with the Royal Government of Cambodia, with the aim of developing a more efficient and fertile business and investment environment for all.
EuroCham's key objectives are to
- Consult & advocate on key issues related to doing business in Cambodia;
- Promote investment to Cambodia;
- Work to improve access for European business to the Cambodian market, and vice-versa; and facilitate business between small and medium size companies of Cambodia and EU Member States;
- Provide services relating to economic, legal, technical, financial, market and other business issues in the EU and Cambodia and industry specific information to investors;
- Promote a strong European Union business identity vis-à-vis the Cambodian business community;
- Work closely with Cambodian stakeholders in supporting inclusive and sustainable growth of the Cambodian economy.
For more information, please contact:
About ARISE Plus Cambodia
The ARISE Plus Cambodia project, co-funded by the EU and BMZ and implemented by GIZ, is set to support greater connectivity and economic integration between Cambodia and the rest of ASEAN through implementing the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 and strengthening institutional capacity.
The project focuses on three main intervention areas, including (1) improving customs, trade facilitation and standards, (2) strengthening Institutional capacities and improving regulatory practices, and (3) enhancing private sector engagement, notably of SMEs, and preparedness for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
For more information:
(Photos credit: EuroCham Cambodia)