Cambodia was among the nations present at the 18th East Asia Summit discussing competitiveness policy. They focused on addressing challenges and devising strategies to promote competitive policies in the digital economy, aiming to enhance cross-border competition, boost consumer welfare and fortify data scrutiny by competitive institutions.

The two-day conference took place from July 25-26 in the Thai capital Bangkok. The summit was a global affair with representatives from numerous East Asian countries and beyond.

Phan Oun, head of the Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate General (CCF), headed the Cambodian delegation attending the meeting, as per a press release by the CCF.

The meeting revolved around four principal topics. Firstly, they debated the role of competition policy in endorsing environmental sustainability. Second, they explored the challenges and regulatory measures essential for competition policies in the digital economy. Third, they brainstormed ways to cultivate international cooperation in East Asia to deal with cross-border competition and safeguard consumer welfare. Lastly, they considered the employment of data tools by competitive institutions for data quality techniques and investigations.

Hong Vannak, an economist at the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute emphasised the significance of regional discussions on competition policy.

He noted that these are pivotal in both the traditional and digital economies, as they guarantee trade competition transparency among nations or within the region. Furthermore, they advocate equal competition from a legal standpoint and particularly shield consumers from the impact of fierce competition on the quality of goods or products.

"If these policies are implemented, they can benefit consumers, increase customer satisfaction and build trust based on the principles achieved by the regional leaders in the dialogues,” he said.

He added that these discussions could contribute to technological advancements in the digital economy. This would be achieved through regional partners' aid, increasing trade efficiency, and saving time for both consumers and traders.

Oun also held individual meetings with competition committee representatives from countries such as the Philippines and Australia. These discussions focused on reviewing and planning technical assistance for consumer promotion, competition and anti-fraud programmes.