The Cambodian Swiftlet Nest Manufacturers and Exporters Association (CSNMEA) and the Chinese Swiftlet Nest Association have agreed to establish common standards for export to China and ASEAN markets. The agreement comes as the two governments seek to boost exports to China.

CSNMEA president Va Sochin said the association, together with the Cambodian Consulate General in Tongqing, China and the president of the Cambodian Food Producers Association, had held talks with their Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts – and Chinese Customs officials – to secure the agreement.

“As a result of our discussions, we have agreed to work together to establish common standards for the edible birds’ nests. We have agreed on moisture levels, product code settings and methods of disinfection. In addition, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) will enforce strict measures against illegal imports, to guarantee fair competition,” she said.

Sochin said the Chinese government supported the Kingdom’s products because the climate and environment of Cambodia are favorable for the production of high quality nests.

“We are also discussing ways to accelerate import licenses to China, as part of our plans to promote and develop the growth of the sector,” she added.

Cambodia Food Manufacture Association president Meav Soktry said Cambodia does not yet have national standards in place for edible bird’s nests. He urged the government to set regulations in order to allow local producers to meet Chinese demand.

“The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has recently made great efforts to encourage bird’s nest product exporters to comply with hygiene standards in order to obtain official export licenses to the China,” he added.

“This would be good for business, and bring additional revenue into the Kingdom. China has its own phytosanitary requirements, called the CNCA. Following the recent meeting, Chinese customs officials will be able to dispatch a team to inspect our facilities and ensure they meet their standards,” he continued.

According to Sochin, the association has also scheduled a bilateral meeting with the largest edible bird’s nest distributor in China and will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the purchase of Cambodian products.

In July last year, the agriculture ministry established a working group to negotiate the opening of the Chinese bird’s nest market. This team is responsible for negotiating the opening of the export market, in collaboration with experienced members of the private sector.

In October, the Ministry of Commerce signed an MoU with Cambodia (Xiamen) Commercial Center Co Ltd (KHCC-XM) paving the way for the export of bird’s nests to the Chinese market, a first step in negotiations.