The Ministry of Commerce and relevant state institutions, together with the Cambodian Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA), are collaborating to enhance the country’s business environment and promote cross-border e-commerce. This includes implementing a policy framework in partnership with the private sector for exporting small goods packages.

The initiative is a joint effort between the ministry and Swisscontact – an international development NGO founded by the Swiss private sector and civil society in 1959 – under Khmer Enterprise’s (KE) Improving Small Package E-Trade for Small and Mediuim-Sized Enterprises (SeT4SME) project.

KE is an implementation unit of the state-owned Entrepreneurship Development Fund (EDF), a government trust fund overseen by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. 

Under the initiative, a consultative workshop on the policy framework with the private sector on the export of small goods was held in Phnom Penh on December 20.

Ministry secretary of state Chea Ratha said the government has a policy to support cross-border e-commerce and strengthen the sector. 

She said the focus is particularly on aiding the private sector and finding inputs to respond to capacity development, thus leveraging the opportunities e-commerce offers to small and medium business owners.

According to Ratha, the workshop aims to achieve two primary objectives. 

The first is to document, exchange knowledge and experiences and gather inputs for establishing relevant policy frameworks and operational mechanisms to enhance the trade environment and support cross-border e-commerce. 

The second objective is to facilitate strategic discussions about opportunities, contributions, roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders. 

The discussions are intended to boost the export capabilities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and progress towards sustainable development goals (SDGs).

“The input from the workshop will help to fortify future policies, strategies and initiatives. These are designed to enhance the export capacity of micro, small and medium enterprises [MSMEs] and to expand the potential of cross-border e-commerce for Cambodia,” she said.

Rajiv Pradhan, country director for Swisscontact, said the private sector should take a leading role in the development and use of digital trade. 

He noted that the government also plays a crucial role in fostering growth through the development of conducive policies.

“E-commerce has been with us for a long time, and we are aware that Cambodia is actively promoting the sector. This is not just on a national scale but also internationally, involving stakeholders in promoting and producing products for overseas markets. The effort is significantly boosting our exports,” he stated.

According to Pradhan, the Kingdom’s economy primarily relies on the private sector, mostly small businesses and family-run operations.