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Cambodia, China to sign rice-export deal

THE Cambodian government is set to sign a deal with the Chinese government for rice exports later this week, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony at Phnom Penh’s International Institute of Cambodia’s University of Technology, the Prime Minister said yesterday that the rice agreement would help to cement the Kingdom’s trading ties with the world’s second-largest economy

“We have begun actively negotiating with the Chinese in order to boost rice exports,” he said.

“China is also the main rice importer from Thailand and Vietnam.”

The People’s Republic is a largely untapped market for Cambodian exports, according to Hun Sen.

“We will export rice, and then cassava and other agriculture products,” said Hun Sen.

Council for National Economy deputy director Sun Kunthor said the deal would be signed Friday in Phnom Penh.

The size of the rice exports and dates of the shipments to China would be revealed at the signing event, he said.

Qian Hai, spokesman and second secretariat of the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh, confirmed yesterday that the agreement signing would be held this week along with the release of more specific figures.

“So far we do not know the total of how much rice will [be] exported to China from Cambodia,” he said.

Cambodia has recently updated its rice policy.

On August 17, Hun Sen targeted increasing Cambodia’s exports of the grain to a million tonnes by 2015.

The premier has also previously announced that the government would guarantee 50 percent of commercial bank lending to rice producers.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SAM RITH

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