Move to launch Asean Chamber of Commerce

Cambodia may soon have an Asean Chamber of Commerce that will provide a platform for businesspeople and professionals from the region living in the Kingdom, apart from local businesses, to exchange ideas and views and also to help the country to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

This was disclosed to Khmer Times by Eric Lim, the CEO of Universal Alliance, organiser of the first ASEAN Social Networking Night (ASN), on Tuesday. The new chamber could be launched as early as next year.

The ASN, held at the Ballroom of the Himawari Hotel Apartments in celebration of Cambodia being the chair and host of the recent successful 40th and 41st Asean Summits and Related Summits. meanwhile, brought together over 200 people from different parts of the region.

The networking event gave an opportunity for citizens from Asean countries to meet and interact with each other and also with expatriates from the non-Asean countries.

Eric said the event was not so much of a business forum, but it still helped the business community from Asean member countries to exchange ideas and views with the hope of setting up the Asean Chamber of Commerce.

According to him, the establishment of the chamber would be a significant step especially as Asean plays a an important role in the RCEP Agreement. “Asean is now a force to be reckoned with across the world,” Eric said.

“Also, if you look at the volume of investments coming into Cambodia today, it is very significant. Since the integration of Cambodia into RCEP in January this year, several businesses have grown by leaps and bounds in the Kingdom,” he said, adding that “according to CDC data, foreign direct investment into Cambodia this year has surpassed total investments of pre-Covid times by 50 percent, approaching $5 billion by the end of this year. We hope that this social networking event will lead to more business forums and networking among Asean member countries.”

Eric said the turnout at the first-ever ASN was encouraging. “People from Asean member countries and also from non-Asean countries participated. In the future, we intend to have other events as well, like the Asean Culinary and Cultural Festival (most probably in April next). Like everything else, you need to have social networks first where we get to know each other and exchange ideas,” he added.

The ASN networking event was attended among others by Datuk Eldeen Mohd. Hashim, Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia, Chhum Socheat, Secretary of State, Ministry of National Defence,

Lay Prohas, former Minister of Tourism and Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia, Naruemon Rinreungsin & Purich Sinwat. Vice Presidents from the Thai Business Council of Cambodia, Yogo Kanda, Chairman of the Japan Business Association of Cambodia, Anthony Galliano, President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Sandeep Majumdar, President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Dalton Wong, President Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Andrew Tay, President of the Singapore Club of Cambodia.