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  • Writer's pictureWynston Eng

‘Cambodians are very receptive to new ideas’

IndoCham president Dalton Wong bats for enhanced relations between Cambodia and Indonesia. IndoCham

IndoCham president Dalton Wong is keen to improve bilateral relations between Cambodia and Indonesia

Indonesian business people have a prominent presence in several industries, especially logistics, travel, entertainment, hospitality, financial services and trading in Cambodia and the bilateral trade between both countries has the potential for growth.

The trade volume between Cambodia and Indonesia reached $588.65 million in 2020. According to the data from the Ministry of Trade of the Indonesia, from 2016-2020, the trade balance between both countries was on average 7.53 percent.

The Kingdom mainly exports garments, textiles, footwear and accessories, while it imports machinery, vehicles and parts, paper products, coal, instant noodles and medicines from Indonesia.

Considering the scope for further progress in trade between both nations, the establishment of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (IndoCham), which launched its operations on 23 September 2021, is significant.

While explaining the future programmes of IndoCham, its president Dalton Wong, who is also chairman of Speedwind Group of companies, told Khmer Times: “We want to hold a roadshow for Cambodians to showcase their projects or businesses in Indonesia. We hope to conduct this event in the third quarter.”

“Our responsibility is to work harder to enhance and improve the bilateral relationship between Cambodia and Indonesia, in terms of economy and trade,” he pointed out.

While talking about the major advantages of doing business in the Kingdom, he said, “Cambodians are very receptive to new ideas, new products. Cambodia has one of the lowest entry barriers for businesses. There’s no discrimination over investment. Anybody can do any type of business except those mandated by the law. Then, there is currency stability. You don’t have so much currency risk between the US dollar and Khmer riel. Besides, there is no capital control. After paying your dues, you can take the profit back to your country. These are some of the reasons why Indonesians should consider investing in Cambodia more.”

He also praised Cambodia’s new law on investment. “The new investment law is actually very beneficial,” Wong said.

On the government level support from Indonesia for the activities of the chamber, he said, “We don’t get tangible support, but we get a lot of help. Our ambassador Sudirman Haseng provides a very big motivation for this chamber. He gives us a lot of support in terms of connections, insight and information.”

Haseng, while speaking at the inaugural member’s event on October 15, 2021, said, “The establishment of IndoCham is a right move at the right time because its presence will directly contribute towards greater economic and business activities in Cambodia and involving primarily Indonesian businesses.”

While attending the Indonesia-Cambodia Investment Dialogue on 22 February, the Ambassador said the Indonesian embassy would work with IndoCham to promote trade between the two countries and attract investment to the Kingdom.

Some of the events that IndoCham recently organised include the Chambers & Friends Golf Tournament, an annual golf tournament for like-minded business chambers and leaders in Cambodia at the Garden City Golf Club.

Talking about the significance of boosting the relations between different chambers in the country, Wong said, “Personally I would love to have more interaction with chambers from other countries in the Kingdom. I believe the collective efforts of different chambers in Cambodia might be able to help each other to improve their business operations or profitability. Because in the past, most of the chambers have been working quite alone. That has to change and mutual cooperation is the way forward.”

He also indicated that the chambers might include associate members in future.

“We might look at the prospects of having associate membership from other nationals. Associate members can actually help improve the trade and economy between countries,” Wong added.

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