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Kingdom’s concern over crisis in Europe

Kingdom’s concern over crisis in Europe

Despite the government’s upgrade of Cambodia’s gross domestic product outlook for 2011 on Wednesday, officials yesterday reiterated concern on the country’s export exposure to crisis in the European Union.

Worries stemming from the Greek economic crisis could hurt Cambodian garment exports to the EU, the second biggest importer of Cambodian garments, Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon said at a trade exhibition in Phnom Penh yesterday.

“We are already concerned but we will make our own efforts to strengthen our internal [affairs],” Keat Chhon said.

Cambodia can brace itself for external shock by boosting the domestic coverage of the law, as well as by strengthening financial institution and human resources, he said.

A greater focus on rice production and exportation was another remedy to a possible decline in exports to Europe, Keat Chhon said.

“I’m talking about rice because everybody needs rice. Our market is strong both in the US and in Europe,” he said.

Preferential trade treatment has made the EU the biggest importer of Cambodian agricultural products. Thon Virak, chairman and director general of state-owned agricultural company Green Trade, said yesterday that the EU imports about 60 per cent of Cambodia’s rice exports.

Increased investments in roads, bridges and canals were also needed, Keat Chhon said.

The inexpensive nature of Cambodian garments may guard against a decrease in orders to Europe, Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said yesterday.

“For garment products, I believe that no matter what level of financial troubles reach Europe, it won’t stop them from buying clothes,” he said.

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