RCEP, CCFTA give boost to e-commerce development in Cambodia

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Trade pacts including the RCEP have injected fresh impetus into Cambodia’s booming e-commerce industry. The country’s market value of e-commerce had surged to 970 million U.S. dollars in 2021, up 19 percent from 813 million dollars in 2020.

PHNOM PENH, July 12 (Xinhua) — The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) have given a boost to the fledgling e-commerce industry in Cambodia, experts said on Monday.

Cambodia’s market value of e-commerce had surged to 970 million U.S. dollars in 2021, up 19 percent from 813 million dollars in 2020, according to the Ministry of Commerce’s iTrade Bulletin released last week.

Ministry of Commerce’s undersecretary of state and spokesman Penn Sovicheat said the e-commerce sector has boomed in the Southeast Asian country in recent years thanks to the rapid development of technologies and fast growth of Internet users.

“Moreover, the RCEP and the CCFTA, which both entered into force on Jan. 1, 2022, have injected fresh impetus into the development of e-commerce in Cambodia,” he told Xinhua.

He said e-commerce is a potential sector to help boost the kingdom’s economy during and after the pandemic era.

“During the pandemic, e-commerce had grown rapidly and there’s no doubt that the growth will continue in coming years,” Sovicheat said.

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Speaking of the cooperation between Cambodia and China in the e-commerce sector, the spokesman said the rapid development of e-commerce in China can be a good example for Cambodia to follow.

“We wish to see investment from Chinese e-commerce giants such as Alibaba or in technological infrastructure and logistics, so it will provide a strong basis for Cambodia to expand its e-commerce market to China, the region, and the world,” he said.

“We see China as a huge market for Cambodian products, especially for potential agricultural ones such as rice, cassava, bananas, and mangos, and undoubtedly, e-commerce will help boost the sales of Cambodian products to China and other RCEP members,” he added.

E-commerce has also helped bring Chinese products closer to Cambodian consumers, Sovicheat said.

Jack Lee, chief executive officer and co-founder of online market Smile Shop in Cambodia, said pandemic-related restrictions on outdoor movements are also one of the key reasons behind the growth of e-commerce in Cambodia.

© Provided by Xinhua

“During the pandemic, people have to order food, groceries, and so on via Facebook, Instagram, and e-commerce platforms,” he told Xinhua.

He said e-commerce has helped Cambodian companies to present their products to Chinese consumers and Chinese firms to showcase their goods to Cambodian customers, and the main e-commerce products China has sold to Cambodia are electronics and fashion products.

The investors have brought capital, knowledge, and products to Cambodia, he said, adding that Chinese people have also invested a lot in logistics, and the Cambodian government is trying its best to bring more and more Cambodian products to the Chinese market.

Senior economist Ky Sereyvath, director-general of the Institute of China Studies at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, agreed that the RCEP and the CCFTA have both added new vitality to the development of Cambodia’s e-commerce.

“Through the RCEP and the CCFTA, I think Cambodia can be a hub-and-spoke model to distribute goods from China to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region,” he told Xinhua.

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