Twenty-seven Cambodian companies joined a Digital Trade Fair jointly conducted by the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) and GIZ’s Business Scouts for Development (BSfD) programme.
The trade fair from July 2-5 showcases unique local wares from the “Getting Your Products to Europe” initiative, according to EuroCham.
It said that a number of Cambodian firms pitched their “unique, niche products” to a mixed Cambodian and German panel of judges.
The panel, it said, “will determine which of the companies are suitable to go on to join trade fairs with European buyers, potentially a unique opportunity to jumpstart export sales”.
“Before the pitch, those companies have also gone through extensive training to better prepare and present their products” to the panel of experts, EuroCham said.
The initiative was formed through a partnership between BSfD and EuroCham, and “envisions a new era of Cambodian trade promotion, by offering real business solutions to local companies with special products, such as niche agricultural produce, sustainable textiles and home accessories”, the local European trade body said.
“Many of these companies already stand out due to their social commitments, care for the environment, and vision for a better way to do business,” it added.
GIZ official Christoph Janensch told The Post that preparations for the fair began on May 19, with the 27 participating companies receiving training on PowerPoint and presentation skills to prepare them for their “pitches”.
The firms delivered their presentations to the judges from June 28 to July 1, he said, adding that the finalists were announced on July 2.
“All of this was done online via our digital trade fair platform which will be open to the public till Monday [July 5] night,” he said.
“The aim of the digital trade fair pitch is to support Cambodian companies to access the European market,” he said, adding that there have been four other ‘pitch’-style presentation sessions in other countries through the initiative, with Cambodia leaving the most profound impact on the panel.
“We expect the 16 finalists to take part in a certified trade fair preparation programme lasting several months and then travel to a European trade fair to exhibit their products as soon as Covid permits it. They will be financially supported to do so,” Janensch said.
Accounting for 45 per cent of Cambodian exports, the EU was the Kingdom’s largest trading partner in 2018, according to the European Commission (EC).
Exports to the EU single market came to €4.9 billion ($5.8 billion) in 2018, nearly double the €2.5 billion logged in 2013, it said.
Most of the exports (95.7 per cent) entered the EU market under Everything But Arms (EBA) tariff preferences, it added. Overall, Cambodia was the second largest user of EBA preferences, behind only Bangladesh.
On August 12, the EC partially withdrew the EBA scheme from Cambodia. The suspension affects one-fifth or €1 billion of the Kingdom’s annual exports to the EU’s 27-nation bloc.