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Women in business look to fruit of FTAs

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Goods made by local women-owned businesses have historically targeted relatively narrow segments of domestic consumers. Heng Chivoan

Women in business look to fruit of FTAs

A series of bilateral, multilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTA) are set to open new horizons for the Kingdom’s enterprising ladies, but their capacities could be limited by a range of barriers, such as funding, knowledge, and market constraints, according to Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) president Keo Mom.

Mom, who is also the CEO of Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd, one of the Kingdom’s largest food processing factories, made the remark on December 20 during a meeting with senior Ministry of Commerce officials.

She told The Post that she raised many of the issues aired by CWEA members for the ministry to tackle, the most pressing of which she said concern market access, financing options and digital skills training.

“Our local producers churn out a lot, but sales are not widespread. We need the Ministry of Commerce to help with promotion and finding markets. Otherwise, if costs get too high and goods drop in marketability, it’ll make it more difficult for women entrepreneurs to compete,” she said.

Wares made by local women-owned businesses have historically targeted relatively narrow segments of domestic consumers, she said, voicing confidence that the ministry would continue to raise up women entrepreneurs, and help them find markets, provide digital skills training and facilitate access to diversified sources of financing.

Commerce ministry secretary of state Tek Reth Kamrong said the ministry has developed a raft of new laws and regulations to prop up micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), which it sees as a driving force for Cambodia’s economic growth.

Cambodia has also entered into a number of bilateral, multilateral and regional FTAs to improve market access, she pointed out.

She added that the ministry has been scaling up training and capacity building for stakeholders, especially women in business, and is working to encourage e-commerce.

Meanwhile, the CWEA president hinted that plans were on the cards for a market to showcase locally-made goods and help them reach a wider audience, especially those crafted by women-owned businesses.

However, the location and budget for the project are currently under study, Mom said.

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