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Kingdom’s crafts can be hit in Korea

A customer shops for locally sourced and produced Cambodian handicrafts
A customer shops for locally sourced and produced Cambodian handicrafts at a boutique in Phnom Penh last week. HONG MENEA

Kingdom’s crafts can be hit in Korea

Cambodian handicrafts and home decor products could take off with South Korean buyers if certain obstacles – conceptual design, development techniques, and slow delivery services – are overcome, business owners and merchants said yesterday.

Speaking at a seminar on Korean Market Access for Cambodia’s textiles at the Himawari hotel in Phnom Penh yesterday, Jung Kyoung A, chief executive officer of Isae, a shop selling textiles and home decor products in Seoul, said that her clients are increasingly requesting items produced in Cambodia.

From April last year to the same month this year, she has spent more than $100,000 to import handmade products from the Kingdom.

Some of the items singled out for export potential at the seminar were clothes made from Cambodian silk, handbags and baskets woven with local materials.

“Cambodian products are becoming more popular in Korea, but concept design and finishing quality need to be improved,” Jung said.

“These are the major obstacle for Korean businesses to cooperate with Cambodian businesses.”

The workshop was organised by the ASEAN Korea centre in Phnom Penh in order to strengthen the capacity of companies in the industry and to contribute to an expansion in South Korean markets.

Speaking at the opening ceremony yesterday, Mao Thora, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce, said that the global trade in handicrafts has potential.

“I believe this workshop will contribute to improving the quality of the products and will strengthen our capacity to access international markets, including Korea,” he said.

Men Sinoeun, executive director of the Artisans Association of Cambodia, said yesterday that handicraft exports to South Korea are on the low side, though he didn’t have exact figures.

“They can tell us what the real market trend is, and the consumer behaviour,” Sinoeun said.

Seng Takakneary, president of the Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association, who participated in the workshop yesterday, said that so far the members of her group have not have not been able to send their products to South Korea.

“There is a huge demand there, but the problem is still with our production capacity. Quality, and always quality, is what we need to improve,” Takakneary said.

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