PHNOM PENH, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- High-profile officials, experts and potential investors gathered here on Friday at the #ConnectCambodia forum to discuss the potential for e-commerce and cross-border trade.
Organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) here, the forum linked-up with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in an effort to showcase how regional integration, technologies and innovations have created new development opportunities to advance cross-border trade in Cambodia, the UNDP said in a press release.
"Through the Belt and Road Initiative, e-commerce and e-trade could support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of small and medium enterprises," said Pauline Tamesis, UNDP resident representative to Cambodia.
While there are several hurdles to overcome -moving products faster and logistical challenges - the #ConnectCambodia forum aimed to find solutions that would make it possible to overcome bottlenecks and streamline efficiency.
"The Cambodian government is committed to fostering an investor friendly ecosystem," said Cambodian Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol.
"This is demonstrated by the recent creation of the National Logistics Council which is designed to look holistically at the logistical impediments and to tackle the high costs of the kingdom's logistics sector to promote the efficient flow of exports," he said.
The overall goal of the forum was to inform the preparation of a partnership between the government, leading logistics providers, e-commerce platforms and development partners.
"Cambodia is open for business," said Nick Beresford, UNDP country director for Cambodia. "The Cambodian government has made great strides in improving its cross-border procedures. UNDP is ready and willing to support the government's ongoing efforts to bring further investment into the country."
Steven Li, senior vice president of Shenzhen 4PX Express Co., Ltd, under the Alibaba Cainiao Logistics Group, said the BRI has provided opportunities for all countries along the route.
"I think Cambodia is now connected to the Belt and Road Initiative, but in terms of the logistic infrastructure, they're still not ready," he said.
"So, I think in this way, if Cambodia can do the same way as European countries, it will be easier for China to send e-commerce products from China to Cambodia, south-east countries. And also, we can import a lot from these countries," he added.
E-commerce has boomed in Cambodia in recent years although a law governing the sector is not yet in place.
According to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, about 75 percent of the kingdom's 16 million people have access to the Internet, mostly by their smartphones.