Cambodia is seeking increased foreign investment in the silk sector amid widespread promotion of the sector in the international market.

The statement was made at the Ministry of Commerce on August 4 during the meeting between Mao Thora, secretary of state of Commerce Ministry, and Zhang Quoqiang, president of the International Silk Union (ISU) and board chairman of Zhejiang Cathaya Group from China.

The event was attended by the Cambodian Silk Promotion and Development Committee (SDC), representatives of the Silk Association and the private sector.

According to Mao Thoras, the silk industry has, over the years, achieved a series of major achievements.

These include becoming an ISU member and signing a Memorandum of Understanding to establish cooperation as well as sending SDC members to participate in training courses on processing technology and innovation of modern silk products.

Members also learned how to strengthen silk and researched and recompiled figures of silk artisans and silk handicrafts.

The achievements also comprise workshops and sharing of knowledge over Cambodian silk strategy, lobbying for the establishment of a local silk association and promoting the use of Khmer silk products to domestic and foreign customers.

Efforts were made to study how to establish a Cambodian silk collective brand to promote Khmer silk products and protect Khmer silk products from counterfeit silk products.

In addition, cooperation was sought with private sector partners and NGO development partners to address priority issues and prepare key priority projects for the support and development of the silk sector in Cambodia.

Despite all the effort, Mao Thoras said the development of the silk sector in Cambodia remains challenging, thus it requires more study and investment.

“I would like to request the working group of the Department of Private Sector Development to contact and prepare a letter to the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce to arrange a meeting with the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and the Chinese side to explore investment opportunities and business partners,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zhang Quoqiang highlighted the progress of ISU support on Cambodia’s silk sector and expressed its intention to develop the silk sector by investing in the silk sector in Cambodia.

He also introduced Cathaya, which has partnered with ISU to establish the International Silk Association initiated by China’s Ministry of Industry, which focuses on planting mulberry and raising larvae (silkworms).

During his trip, Zhang Quoqiang also met with CCC director-general Nguon Meng Tech to express his intention to explore investment opportunities and seek partnerships with CCC members.

Chen Sopheap, the founder and managing director of Keiy Tambanh Khmer (KTK), an association of traditional Cambodian silk-based product manufacturers, told that Post on August 8 that although the tradition of using silk of the Khmer people has a long history, the development and investment in this sector is limited at the moment.

She said if there is more investment in the silk sector in Cambodia, it is good because it will not only reduce the import of silk from abroad, but would also help boost the domestic market and export.

“Investing in this sector in Cambodia would not only help create jobs and income for the people but it would also help boost Cambodia’s export market,” Sopheap stressed.

After a sharp decline during the Covid-19 outbreak, the demand for silk in Cambodia has shown signs of recovery, although it has not been as high as it was before 2019.

“Due to the small amount of silk production, Cambodia has imported silk products from countries such as China and Vietnam to meet domestic demand,” she said.