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Cambodian fish sauce to be exported to US

THE nation's top brand of fish sauce is expected to be exported to the United States at the end of the year. Two containers of Kampot fish sauce will soon appear in stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco, said Chan Sitha, owner of Ngov Heng Kampot Fish Sauce factory.
Chan Sitha visited the US last month in a bid to find local distribution partners for fish sauce.

"I am working with two partners who will wholesale my products in California, and they are waiting for the first export," he said. "I [plan] to send two containers containing 1,000 cases each to test and survey the market."

Each case contains 12 bottles of 750 mL each, Chan Sitha said, adding that wholesalers will target other Asian residents in California, not only Khmer-Americans.

"And we are working to get permission from the relevant institutions to accelerate my exports," he said, adding that he had received the ministry's guideline on how to obtain Cambodia's Standard Certificate proving quality control. "The certificate will make exporting easier, so we plan to ask for that and get it soon."

The Ngov Heng factory has 40 storage tanks that daily refine 2,000 litres of fish sauce, soy sauce and chilli sauce.

Heng Heang, the president of Phnom Penh's association for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said Cambodian industry is improving fast because many businesses are upgrading their capacity and technology.

"Some SMEs produce poor-quality products, and others produce good quality," Heng Heang said. "But we are seeing many domestic industries capable of making high-quality goods that can compete with imported products."

Mao Thora, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, said that companies wanting to export must comply with government directives and export procedures.

"[The ministry] has worked hard with development partners to facilitate exports by SMEs," Mao Thora said. "But right now we have a problem.... We lack sufficient funds for that project. However, we are still following [the ministry's policy of trade export promotion]."

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