Cambodia expects to export around 300,000 tonnes of milled rice to China per year, Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said during the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Siem Reap.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming on Tuesday night, Cham Prasidh said that during the bilateral talk, both sides discussed how to export more cassava, corn and rice to China from Cambodia.
The Chinese minister also expressed the intention to promote investment from China to rice processing and garment in Cambodia.
Cham Prasidh said that there are two big companies from China already investing in rice mills in Cambodia, which are expecting to be finished later this year.
“We expect to export soon. Actually, there is a Chinese company from Guangxi province of China that is in the final stage of completing the construction of the rice milling plant in Kampong Chhnang province. And, there is another company from Yunnan also investing, in Takeo province, to install a huge rice processing mill,” he said.
Cham Prasidh said he hopes there will be more investment from China into the rice milling industry as Minister Chen Deming discussed.
“Minister Chen Deming is going to invite COFCO, one of China’s biggest companies, to explore possible value-added opportunities to our rice by investing and transforming rice into foodstuffs. That’s something we would like to invite COFCO to come and explore and also invest in Cambodia,” he said.
The bilateral trade between Cambodia and China reached nearly $2.5 billion in 2011 while leaders from the two countries pledged to double the amount by 2017.
“This is already the target. Both ministers have discussed ways and means to help each other promote more trade and more investment from China to Cambodia,” Cham Prasidh said.
The relationship between ASEAN and China has become increasingly important, and a counterbalance to economic relations with the euro zone and the United States, analysts have said.
The economic bloc of Southeast Asian nations is now China’s third-largest trading partner.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]