The Ministry of Commerce will lead a series of provincial forums next week aimed at promoting greater awareness of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) among rural businesses.
Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol is to talk about both the challenges and opportunities that deeper regional economic integration will present for local businesses, according to a news release on the ministry’s Facebook page.
“ASEAN Economic Community integration, increasing competitiveness, access to finance and agricultural production will be the main topics discussed in the forum,” said ministry spokesman Ken Ratha.
With the AEC’s December deadline fast approaching, Ratha said the forums would be used to advise people on what it meant for their business.
Close to 700 business representatives from different sectors are expected to attend the forums.
“The ministry will use these discussions to consider more policy reforms at the provincial level, improve existing activity plans and possibly bring out a common mechanism to respond to these challenges,” Ratha added.
Ngoun Meng Tech, president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative will allow private businesses, at the provincial level, to raise their concerns directly with the ministry and help hasten Cambodia’s regional integration.
“We have the forum at the national level, but not all businesses are able to participate, especially those in the provinces as they have to spend time and money to travel to the Phnom Penh,” Meng Tech said.
Phou Puy, a leading rice miller in Battambang province, welcomed the initiative as knowledge of the AEC was limited among provincial businesses.
“Small- and medium-size businesses need to be informed on the developments of the integration and how it will affect them,” he said.
The forums will kick off in Siem Reap Monday, followed by Battambang province on Tuesday with other provinces to be announced shortly.