A Cambodian delegation to the Russian city of Kazan last month proposed to build an assembly plant for the city’s heavy-duty Kamaz trucks in the Kingdom, a press release from the office of the president of the Tatarstan region of Russia states.
The plant was proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An during the Eurasian Economic Integration forum held on November 28.
Sok An said that Kamaz trucks had been “popular in the eighties [in Cambodia],” in the December 1 statement. He added that a Belarusian tractor plant had been built on the outskirts of Phnom Penh following a Cambodian visit to Belarus in 2012.
At the November 28 meeting, the president of Kazan’s Tatarstan region, Rustam Minnikhanov, said future trade with Cambodia would centre on an exchange of heavy machinery and agricultural goods.
“We need to work to increase the trade turnover between Tatarstan and Cambodia,” Minnikhanov said in the statement.
“We will be happy to actively cooperate with the Kingdom of Cambodia, especially when we have established certain contacts already,” Minnikhanov added.
Scepticism remains, however, over the quality of the Russian trucks, which were made popular by their military use during the former Soviet Union.
Oleg Samorodni, a past employee of the Soviet Embassy in Cambodia in the 1980s, told the Post the trucks had a spotted history in Cambodia.
“Indeed, in the 1980s, the Soviet Union supplied to Cambodia [then the People's Republic of Kampuchea] free Kamaz trucks, as aid to the fraternal Kampuchean people . . . however, these machines had big problems because of their inferior quality,” he said.
Samorodni was doubtful a Cambodian plant could sell the vehicles successfully in Southeast Asia.
“Russian manufacturers are feverishly looking for markets as their products are not very popular,” he said.
“In the late 1990s to early 2000s, some Russian businessmen tried to sell in Cambodia Kamaz, but it didn’t work out.”