A major international agricultural fair that brought over 800 Chinese companies to the capital wrapped up yesterday with none of the expected investment agreements signed as Chinese investors appeared cautious about setting up agro-processing facilities in the Kingdom, organisers said.
The inaugural International Agriculture Products and Expository kicked off on June 25, drawing some 800 investors from China and 200 local firms to a four-day expo aimed at showcasing the investment potential of Cambodia’s agricultural sector.
Chea Heng, president of the Cambodia-China Development Friendship Alliance (CCDFA), one the expo’s local organisers, said several major memoranda of understanding (MoUs) had been expected during the fair, but none materialised.
However, he said he was aware of several private agreements signed during the event, including an agreement for CCDFA to act as a local agent for a Hong Kong-based distributor of Chinese processed agricultural products.
“So far we have not had any big MoUs with the Chinese side yet,” he said. “But we [CCDFA] have already signed on rights to import Chinese products to sell in the Cambodian market.”
Heng said Chinese investors were interested in establishing processing factories in Cambodia for local agricultural products, but had insisted on due diligence before committing to the projects.
“Chinese investors still intend to set up processing factories but they need first to go down and check locations for their potential agricultural products,” he said.
Heng added that he was confident that some “major deals” would be inked in the future.
Lim Heng, vice president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said that while the expected investment agreements were not signed during the expo the attendance of over 800 Chinese companies signified a huge potential for future investment in agricultural processing facilities.
“I think there is a lot of potential for investors, especially Chinese investors, to set up processing factories here as we produce a lot of agricultural products but most of them end up [being processed] in neighbouring countries,” he said. “It would add more value to the products if the processing factories were established here and investors could export directly to their market at a high profit.”