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EBA deal withdrawal wouldn’t affect operations, say EuroCham members

Poovenraj Kanagaraj / Khmer Times Share:
Private sector representatives at the launch of the new edition of Eurocham’s White Book. Eurocham

The European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) members in the recent EuroCham Business Confidence Survey 2019 do not expect a withdrawal of the Everything-but-arms (EBA) scheme to have an impact on their operations.

This can be attributed to the majority of EuroCham members concentrated in the services sector serving the domestic market, which would experience less of an immediate impact in comparison to the export-oriented manufacturing.

Furthermore, the survey also unveiled that 37 percent feel that Cambodia’s competitive advantages are “average” compared with 43 percent in the 2017 survey, proving that the perception of Cambodia’s regional competitiveness had improved modestly amid a rising domestic demand for products and services.

A total of 68 percent of respondents believe the low cost of human resources continues to be the main competitive advantage.

The survey also highlighted that infrastructure continues to be the area that is perceived to have been most improved while electricity costs saw the most significant improvement. However, in terms of obstacles for businesses, non-transparent practices and unofficial fees were cited as the most significant obstacles.

An increasing number EuroCham members also believe that unfair competition is proving to be an increasing obstacle to doing business in the Kingdom while challenges regarding the availability of human resources have diminished.

Other concerns have included the widened gap between compliant and non-compliant businesses through the tax and regulatory reforms which continues from the last survey in 2017.

In terms of ease of doing business, the survey noted that there was a marked improvement with the number of businesses that consider it to have become “easier” doubled compared with 2017. However, 40 percent of respondents this year believe the ease of doing business will become more difficult this year.

The 2019 survey has also shown that improvement in communication and further collaboration between the government and private sector through initiatives, such as restarting the Government-Private Sector Forum chaired by the Prime Minister, are providing investors with greater support and certainty.

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