AS the curtain comes down on the Takhmao Trade Fair, Hungarian government officials
and business leaders will descend on the capital to unveil a mini-trade fair of their
Beginning April 21 for three days, the Hungarian Embassy will host a series of "contact
days" to bolster bi-lateral economic and commercial ties.
"In the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, the role of the Hungarian diplomats
here was to concentrate on political relations with Cambodia," Ferenc Blauman,
the Charge d'Affaires, said. "Now we want to concentrate on economic and commercial
Thirty-one top Hungarian companies - mostly from the agricultural and pharmaceutical
sectors - will pitch their goods to the Cambodian public and to seek local partnerships.
The contact days, sponsored by the Hungarian Ministry of Industry and Trade, and
organized by Angkor Trade - a Budapest-based firm which promotes economic and trade
links between the two nations - will include pharmaceutical brand names such as Alkaloida
and Richter Gedeon.
According to Blauman, the event follows recent overtures made by Budapest toward
Phnom Penh to press ahead in the sphere of trade relations. In the 1980s, these had
flourished on a barter-based, state-trading system, but have since sagged.
The groundwork for renewed contact was laid in November during a visit by Soos Karoly
Attila, Secretary of State for Industry and Trade, who led a team of Hungarian businessmen
in talks with the Royal Government.
In January, Attila invited his Cambodian counterpart, Cham Prasidh, for further talks
on home soil. Blauman said that Prasidh would probably be going to Budapest in August.
Hungary was one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of Kampuchea,
and has maintained an embassy here since 1979.
However, due to post-Cold War budgetary constraints, Blauman said its diplomatic
corps at several overseas postings, including Phnom Penh, has had to be scaled back.
He said that while most of the Hungarian companies hoped to establish export outlets
in Cambodia, Babolna - which specialized in poultry farming - had already struck
a deal to raise produce for consumption on the local market.
"The quality of the meat which is produced in Cambodia is very poor, because
there is no adequate inspection of meat here," said Blauman.
"With the rapid increase of tourism to Cambodia, there will be a greater demand
for good quality meat. A company like Babolna would import industry standard slaughterhouses
equipped with quality control laboratories."
Cambodian viniculture will also be on the agenda of the contact days.
"The French experimented with vineyards in the 1950s, and were not very successful,"
Blauman said. "There have been so many changes in the way wine is produced,
maybe these new methods for the cultivation of grape can be used for wine production