More than 30 private companies and commercial banks met Monday to discuss bridging the wide gap between manufacturers and financiers.
“People do not trust the banks and banks do not trust the business enterprises, so it creates a very high-risk environment,” said Hang Sochivin, chief of the Commerce Ministry’s Technical and Executive Bureau. “Our gold discussion is, How are bankers and enterprise companies going to be able to produce goods for the international market? Right now, it’s too high risk to give a loan.”
The discussions, sponsored by the World Trade Organization-affiliated Government and International Trade Center, are aimed at teaching businesses to compete globally. Cambodia expects to join the WTO in September.
“People are running businesses now, but they do not yet understand how to compete in international trade,” said Secretary of State Sok Siphana at the Ministry of Commerce. “They must learn to think as global businessmen.”
While the WTO will give Cambodia access to a large market, Sok Siphana said traders need to be professional and know how global trade works to sell their goods.
“They know to drive, but they need to know how to drive in the right direction, properly and professionally,” Sok Siphana said.
The Commerce Ministry and the International Trade Commission experts are leading the two-day discussions aimed at teaching Cambodian businesses to improve their professionalism in imports, exports, purchasing and supply management techniques.
The experts offered to tour Cambodian factories, banks and businesses and consult with them on ways to compete on the global market.
Cambodia International Investment Cooperation owner Keo Rattana said that before he attended the conference he did not know where to export his Cambodian Whiskey.
“I was wondering how I compete with other whiskey products from other world whiskey producers,” Keo Rattana said.
The business methods taught at the conference gave him a better idea of how to plan his business, he said.
Still, the distrust between manufacturers and money lenders is a large challenge for exporters preparing to enter the global market.
“Bankers want to make money as quickly as possible,” Hang Sochivin said. “The less risk involved, the more the possibility the bank will give the loan.”