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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trade show promotes Mekong

Trade show promotes Mekong

Businesses from the Greater Mekong Sub-region meet to promote regional trade.

BUSINESSES from the six-member Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) met Monday in Phnom Penh to discuss ways to boost export competitiveness in global markets, improve regional trade policy and promote an international business identification system, officials at the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce told the Post.

The workshop - attended by more than 20 local and international business representatives - was sponsored by the India-based Centre for SME Growth and Development Finance (CESMED) in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce along with US-based commercial analysts Dun and Bradstreet (D&B).

"I am proud of the fact that this workshop is promoting a new vision of trade for the region and new ways to facilitate business partnerships and exchange," Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said.

Global listing

The conference hoped to enlist local businesses to apply for D&B's Data Universal Numbering System, or DUNS number, an international identification system used by more than 50 million companies in 190 countries.

"The DUNS number allows businesses to better promote their products and services to international consumers by confirming quality and respectability," Nguon Meng Tech said.

He added that no Cambodian businesses have a DUNS number.

"We will need more time to review application procedures and requirements, but we hope that if a local company does get the number, they will be able to lead the way for others to follow," he said.

Vinod Paratkarm, a CESMED adviser, said the workshop was crucial for raising awareness of global challenges to exports from GMS member-states, particularly among small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The six-member trade bloc includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China's Yunnan province.

"We are facing many difficult issues at the moment including how best to manage trade risks with partners we don't know very well," Vinod Paratkarm said.

Global decline

The issue of risk has become a greater concern as caution becomes the order of the day, a trend some members of the workshop hope to reverse.

Shiendra Narian, chairman of the CESMED, said the workshop was useful for identifying strengths and weaknesses among GMS exporters and also as a chance to promote the bloc's significance.

"We want to send a message to the world. We are not sleeping lions. We must stand together as members of the international trade community and further improve our competitiveness in world markets," Shiendra Narian said.

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