The Artisans’ Association of Cambodia (AAC), a membership-based organisation for craft producers and sellers, seeks government support in pursuing economic diversification beyond the coronavirus-hit tourism sector.
The AAC comprises 36 handicraft groups that specialise in creating souvenirs for the Kingdom’s tourist trade.
Its president Pierre-Andre Romano on Thursday led a delegation to meet Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak to ask for government support for the survival of handicrafts.
He told The Post on Sunday that workers at member groups have the talent, resources and capacity to produce more contemporary decorations, jewellery and home textiles for the domestic and export markets.
“Now it’s time to shift to these markets, to be less dependent on tourism. This will be the new strategy of AAC, together with other associations and with the support of the government – to promote Khmer talents and products,” said Romano.
He said Sorasak appeared keen to support the initiative and tap into export opportunities for local products.
“It will even make the industry grow further. We are also working together on protecting local products. It’s very important to strengthen the sector with many employees facing problems now because of the tourism market collapsing.
“They should have begun their push into other markets before, but many investors were not interested because they believe that tourists would suffice. History has proved them wrong.”
The Kingdom has adopted a version of Japan’s One Village One Product policy, in which Sorasak plays an active role, the ministry noted via social media. The AAC’s initiative is in consonance with the ministry’s goals, it said.
“The ministry backs the initiative and advises the AAC to work with it to support handicraft makers through exposure via exhibitions.”
The ministry encourages the AAC to register via the newly-launched online business registration system at registrationservices.gov.kh, also known as the Single Portal.
Six ministries and state-run institutions were integrated into the system on an information technology platform that was launched on June 15 by government representatives.
The platform intends to make the process of registering and opening a business in Cambodia easier and more efficient.
The six ministries and state institutions listed in the system are the ministries of Interior; Economy and Finance; Commerce; and Labour and Vocational Training, as well as the General Department of Taxation and the Council for the Development of Cambodia.
The commerce ministry said the portal provides access to marketing resources and helps connect registered businesses to potential clients.
It added that it would actively work to promote the AAC and other businesses abroad.