A man walks in a shipping container area at Yangshan Port of Shanghai earlier this month. Cambodia and China plan to double bilateral trade to US$5 billion by 2015. Photograph: Reuters
Cambodia’s Power Partner Profit Group has signed 10 memoranda of understanding with Chinese companies for cooperation on agriculture, mineral resources and electronics.
Insiders said the penning of the MoUs, which do not guarantee a final agreement, was another step toward realising a US$5 billion bilateral trade goal reached by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese President Hu Jintao in April.
The domestically owned firm signed the MoUs on Friday without announcing a specific value of the deals should they be followed through.
The potential deals would focus mainly on agriculture, namely contracts for 60,000 tonnes of rubber,
1 million tonnes of cassava, 500,000 tonnes of milled rice and some processed foods, Yim Sawy, PPP Group president, said on Friday.
Deals would also look at Chinese mobile phones produced in Cambodia – which now don’t exist – clothing materials and agricultural equipment, Yim Sawy said.
“China has a huge demand for agricultural products. And at the same time, Cambodia has a great potential for agricultural products,” he said. “These MoUs will help in Cambodia’s goals for proverty reduction and job creation for our people. They will help find markets for their products.”
A wide range of Chinese companies joined in the signing.
Yunnan Yun Manganese Group inked MoUs on minerals, water resources, electricity and real estate. Sichuan Jingong Chuangpai Flavoring looked into fish, chicken and shrimp seasoning.
“I suggest local investors cooperate with PPP Group if they want to export their rubber,” Yunan Yun Manganese Chairman Li Yong Seng said on Friday.
“We see the Cambodian government is very careful with foreign investors like China, and that builds the confidence needed for more investors to come here.”
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and China reached $2.49 billion last year, a 73 per cent increase on the year before, according to data from the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh.
Cambodia’s exports to China, totalling about $184 million, constituted only a fraction of the total trade but increased by nearly 100 per cent compared to 2010.
Serie Kosal, vice chairman of Cambodia’s One Village One Product National Committee, a government project that supports local products, said the MoUs were a sign of strength in the bilateral trade relationship, and should help reach the goal of $5 billion in bilateral trade by 2015.
He added that the country’s political stability had played a role in attracting the Chinese investors.
Vijit Yang, Chairman of the ASEAN-China Economic and Trade Promotion Association, said on Friday that the MoUs would draw closer business ties.
“We are going to get Cambodian cassava, rubber and agriculture products into the Chinese market. I will bring more Chinese investors to Cambodia,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]