1st Asia-Europe Economic and Business Forum in Phnom Penh

Intensifying Asia-Europe relations through the “New Normal” and strengthened global value chains

The 1st Asia-Europe Economic and Business Forum (1st AEEBF) will take place in Phnom Penh on 24 November 2021. Arranged in a digital format, it is one of the major side events of the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 13), an intergovernmental, multilateral summit scheduled for 25 and 26 November 2021.

The Forum aims to further promote and facilitate foreign investment and cultural relations between European and Asian countries. The underlying theme is “Transitioning to a New Normal: Leveraging Global Value Chains and the 4th Industrial Revolution.” The discussion will focus around ways to boost trade between the regions, as well as sustainable trade in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The meeting takes place in the context of rising economic interconnectedness between Asian and European countries, despite underlying setbacks. The Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions have created uncertainty among investors, adding to trade disputes between the Western nations and China and a diplomatic impasse between Cambodia and the EU over the withdrawal of the EBA preferential trade scheme.

Eager to intensify economic ties, Cambodia’s local European business community – mainly represented by EuroCham Cambodia and its national chapters like GBC – see the Forum as an opportunity to further promote the country’s attractiveness to European investors.

Rising exports are integrating the national economy into the world’s global chains, including textiles, agribusiness, and light manufacturing. Promising opportunities also lie in sustainability-focused sectors such as waste management and clean energy.

To help illustrate these opportunities, EuroCham Cambodia is preparing a consolidated version of its recently-published Product & Supplier Brochures, designed in collaboration with German GIZ’s Business Scouts for Development Programme and supported by the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce. The consolidated Brochure will showcase attractive Cambodian products meant for the export market, and is a testament to ongoing European-Cambodian institutional collaboration in the country.

Other side events of the ASEM-13 include the Asia-Europe Forum on Women, Peace and Security, the 11th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP11), the ASEM Cultural Festival, the ASEF Young Leaders Summit, and the 10th ASEF Editors’ Roundtable (ASEFERT10).