Minister Says Cambodia Chamber of Commerce Lagging Behind

The Minister of Industry and Handicrafts on Monday said the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the country’s most prominent private-sector lobbying group, should be doing more for the country’s entrepreneurs.

Industry Minister Cham Prasidh spoke following the election for president of the Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia (Fasmec), a body that works closely with his ministry.

After it was announced that tycoon Te Taing Por won a second term as the federation’s president, Mr. Prasidh told a gathering of about 200 participants that the CCC, headed by business mogul Kith Meng, should do more to develop small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

“Honestly, even though the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce has more resources, it has not provided much training to its members,” Mr. Prasidh said.

“Fasmec has less resources, but it has made more of an effort to provide training to its members.”

Mr. Prasidh, who served as the commerce minister before being replaced by Sun Chanthol last year, said that since 2010, Fasmec has made steady progress helping SMEs develop throughout the country, in contrast to other business federations and associations.

“Previously, Fasmec served only manufacturing enterprises, but now it needs to serve small and medium enterprises in all sectors,” he said.

Contacted by telephone Monday, Mr. Meng, the CCC president and chairman of the Royal Group, declined to comment on Mr. Prasidh’s remarks.

However, Nguon Meng Tech, director-general of the CCC, said the veracity of Mr. Prasidh’s claims were up for debate.

“It’s just his personal thoughts,” Mr. Meng Tech said. “We don’t need to showcase what we have achieved. The public can assess by themselves what each organization has done.”

Mr. Meng Tech added that Fasmec actually needs the CCC, because the organization has more sway among the country’s business community.

“Without CCC, Fasmec can’t do its job effectively,” he said.

There are between 70,000 and 80,000 SMEs in the country, Mr. Prasidh said during Monday’s speech.

Following his re-election, Mr. Taing Por said he would continue to focus on increasing their competitiveness.

“I will work harder to develop small and medium enterprises in Cambodia, especially so they can compete with others internationally when the Asean Economic Community opens in…2015,” he said.

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