After a visit to Phnom Penh last week, John C Tsang, finance secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, took to his blog to call for more direct imports of Cambodian rice, which he says comes through a third country.
In a post on June 30, Tsang said Thai and Vietnamese companies import rice from Cambodia at a comparatively low cost, and after additional processing, re-export to Hong Kong. The region imported a total of 135,400 tonnes of rice in the first five months of 2013, and Cambodia accounted for only 0.34 per cent of that amount. Thailand topped the list and Vietnam came in second.
Van David Vichet, deputy secretary general of the Alliance of Rice Producers and Exporters of Cambodia, said he did not expect a huge impact to the industry as Hong Kong is not a big market for Cambodia’s fragrant rice.
“Fragrant rice is the main type of rice exported to Hong Kong from Cambodia right now, but fragrant rice consumption in Hong Kong is limited, far behind . . . white rice.”