Ten Cambodian companies primarily operating in the food, beverage and handicrafts industries exhibited their products at last week’s Asean Trade Fair in South Korea, hopeful of striking up partnerships to increase exports from the Kingdom.
Kim Young-sun, the Secretary-General of the Asean-Korea Centre, said during an opening speech at the ninth Asean Trade Fair that the platform helps countries from the 10-nation bloc gain greater market access to South Korea.
“The Asean Trade Fair is a platform where various competitive Asean food and beverage products are presented to the Korean business communities,” he said. “It brings opportunities for Asean and Korea to enhance their business partnership.”
According to the Asean-Korean Centre, there were more than $2 million worth of contracts signed at last year’s trade fair.
Long Dimanche, Cambodian ambassador to South Korea, said that while the total trade value between Asean nations and Korea had reached $124 billion, companies from developing countries attending the fair were at a disadvantage.
“I have noticed that it has been challenging for companies, especially those from less developed countries, to participate in this year’s programme,” he said, citing a lack of budget incentives for exhibitors that include discounted airfare.
“Hence, I would like to request all stakeholders to reconsider the budget allocation,” he said.
The 10 Cambodian companies which participated in this year’s fair were hand-picked by the Ministry of Commerce on the basis of their products and their ability to export to South Korea.
Ung Davy, general manager for LeangLeng Enterprise, a company that produces fish sauce, said that the fair was good for business despite the firm not securing any contracts when it attended last year. Regardless, he said that there are difficulties for Cambodian products vying to enter the Korean market.
“I think [the trade fair] is good for my company. [Now] I know how to export, know Korean needs and know some companies are very interested in my company,” he said. “But I don’t have enough fish sauce for them, and it is difficult [to export to the South Korean] because there is a lot of paperwork.”