CAMBODIA’S rice exports to Europe increased 45 percent in the first 11 months of 2010, over the same period for 2009.
The rise was largely due to the easing of import measures from the European Union’s Everything But Arms initiative, according to government officials.
Under the terms of the EBA initiative, EU import quotas were cancelled and Cambodian rice was exempted import tax, Ministry of Commerce Deputy Cabinet Chief Kong Putheara said yesterday.
“We hope that rice exports to Europe will double this year, as the quality of Cambodia’s rice is becoming recognised by buyers,” he said.
According to Ministry of Commerce figures obtained yesterday, 37,458 tonnes of rice were exported to Europe in the first 11 months of 2010, worth some US$27.5 million – a 45 percent increase on the 25,833 tonnes shipped in the period 2009, worth $19 million.
The European Union largely ended restrictions on importing rice from Least Developed Countries such as Cambodia in the latter half of 2009.
Kong Putheara said the EU’s initiative had generated increased demand for domestic rice producers, providing companies with more revenue to equip the factories with more modern processing machinery.
“The situation is different from the past,” he said. “Buyers in Europe, as well as other markets, are becoming more interested in our rice.”
Lim Bun Heng, president of Loran Import-Export Company, said that Cambodian produced rice was become extensively recognised by the European Union markets.
He added hopes that wider recognition would translate to increased sales.
“We will have more opportunity to export our rice this year,” he said.
Loran aims to export some 40,000 tonnes of rice to European markets this year.