Cambodia is set to host the 1st Asia-Europe Economic and Business Forum on November 24, an event which will showcase areas of investment opportunities and potential in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.
Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce and chairman of the forum’s organising committee, told a press conference on October 20 that the event will be organised virtually and attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen, as well as national leaders, policymakers, academics, experts, CEOs of large companies, and representatives of business groups and the private sector from many countries.
The minister mentioned that the 10 ASEAN countries, Australia, Belgium, China, Estonia, France, Hungary, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, the UK and others would be represented at the event.
He said the forum was designed to discuss trade potential offered in the journey towards Industry 4.0, and the impact of the ongoing global spread of Covid-19 on trade and investment across Eurasia.
The event will also feature in-depth discussions on key relevant topics and jointly address current and future challenges, as well as share experiences, knowledge and new good practices with a view toward common prosperity, to boost economic growth, trade, investment and development across the two continents, he said.
“Organising this forum will help raise the prestige and image of Cambodia on the international stage to another level and offer participants from Asia and Europe the opportunity to understand and know the Kingdom better, and discover its trade and investment potential,” Sorasak said.
He said the event aims “to attract investors and businesspeople from Eurasia to examine the possibility of investing in Cambodia, given its very attractive new investment law, low labour costs, appropriate physical infrastructure and market for large-scale exports”.
Cambodian exports enjoy preferential tariff treatment from a number of countries. The Kingdom has also bagged bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) with China and South Korea, the latter of which is due to be signed next week.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on October 21 that the Asia-Europe Economic and Business Forum is held biannually and that the Kingdom has always taken part.
He said that hosting the “world-class forum” would be “an honour” that affords Cambodia the chance to present its economic potential and other opportunities in the hopes of attracting more investors from Eurasia and encourage trade and investment in the Kingdom.
He noted that the scale of next month’s event is larger that the ASEAN Summit, which Cambodia has also hosted, with more countries set to participate.
While Cambodia will not make raise much revenue directly from the event, due to its virtual nature, Heng suggested that it would be “a benefit for our country’s honour on the international stage” and pave the way for Cambodia to provide the world a show.
He said the Kingdom has a shot at bringing attention to its political stability, peace, new investment laws and regulations, FTAs with China and South Korea, and similar deals, as well as its economically-strategic central geographical location at the heart of the ASEAN region, which he noted has a population of more than 600 million.
Heng is confident that the Kingdom will attract more investment in garments, bags and footwear following the forum, alluding to heightened demand from the EU buoyed by existing preferential trade schemes.
The event will be held under the theme “moving to a new normal: modernisation of the global value chain, multilateralism and the fourth industrial revolution”.