Cambodia is working to identify potential and priority products to capitalise on preferential treatments under free trade agreements (FTAs) and boost exports.
Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Seang Thay on Friday led a fourth meeting among relevant departments under the ministry to discuss promoting production and shoring up bilateral trade in the region.
He said that following the third such meeting, the ministry set up secretariat working groups on research and development, priority product identification, and report preparation to speed up the work.
“The goal of the fourth meeting was to review and finalise the list of potential Cambodian products and prepare the export growth plan under the [various relevant] regional and bilateral frameworks.
“[The plan] will emphasise on reaping the profits from existing bilateral and multilateral FTAs, promoting local products and lifting exports,” Thay said.
However, he told The Post on Monday that the ministry still needs more time to identify the products around which the export and production growth policy will be designed.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said the initiative is in response to a global campaign to boost agricultural productivity, which has topped agendas worldwide amid Covid-19.
“During Covid-19, agricultural production has caught the attention of the world. Given that we are an agricultural-based country, a government list of priority products to boost production and export will do a world of good.
“Once we’ve determined what the priority products should be, we’ll be able to formulate an exact road map and proper policy so as to not only boost production for export, but also reel in more investment in food processing considering that we now export mainly raw materials,” he said.
Cambodia exported more than three million tonnes of agricultural products to international markets as of mid-September, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported.
Its data show that by September 11, Cambodia had exported a large number of finished agricultural products, including milled rice, cassava, pepper, rubber, fresh mangoes, cashew nuts, bananas, corn, soybeans, vegetables and tobacco.
Milled-rice exports amounted to 463,805 tonnes, fresh cassava, dried cassava chips and tapioca starch reached more than 1.7 tonnes, cashew nuts (202,207 tonnes), fresh yellow bananas (213,486 tonnes), fresh mangoes and its dehydrated products (56,590 tonnes), pepper (3,959 tonnes), palm oil (41,970 tonnes), tobacco (5,376 tonnes) and soybeans (3,876 tonnes).
The Kingdom shipped 193,660 tonnes of corn, vegetables (84 tonnes), sweet potatoes (2,865 tonnes), fresh and dried chilli peppers (52,621 tonnes), pomelos (15,150 tonnes) and other products (55,420 tonnes).
Cambodia’s agricultural products are exported to Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Pakistan, Russia, France, Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, the US, Britain, Belarus, New Zealand, Sweden and Hungary, the ministry said.