The Cambodia Food Manufacture Association (CFMA) on Wednesday had a preliminary meeting with representatives of mango exporter Hyundai Agro (Cambodia) Co Ltd to explore opportunities to export agricultural products to South Korea.
Meeting at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) office in Phnom Penh, CFMA expressed its determination to work closely with Hyundai Agro to open the South Korean market to Cambodian products, CFMA said.
Some of the products brought to the table were fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper, coffee, edible bird’s nest and cashews, it said.
Edible bird’s nest is a nutritious delicacy made from the dried saliva of Southeast Asia’s white-nest swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus).
Hyundai Agro assistant manager Ngeth Vuth Thoeun told The Post on Thursday that the company is very keen on exporting Cambodian goods to South Korea, a market with a high demand for agricultural products.
But he warned the sector not to get their hopes up just yet. “This was just the first meeting. Hyundai Agro will look at a number of samples and check for quality standards before consulting with Korean buyers,” he said.
He vowed that his company would continue to work with suppliers in Cambodia even as orders from Korean companies begin to pile up.
“Conceivably, many Cambodian products will be shipped to South Korea in the near future. It all just takes time to make sure that quality and phytosanitary standards are met,” Vuth Thoeun said.
He asked investors and farmers to pay close heed to the quality of their products to guarantee that the needs of potential importers are met, now more than ever as the company active works to find Korean buyers for the Kingdom’s agricultural products.
“I urge farmers as well as producers to prepare their products in accordance with export standards, because Korea is a country with very high hygiene standards,” Vuth Thoeun said.
Cambodia and South Korea are working hard to push forward with a bilateral free trade agreement, with second-round negotiations coming to a close on Thursday.
Cambodian ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche told The Post that he is currently working closely with the Korea Importers Association (Koima) to help boost Cambodian exports to Asia’s fourth largest economy.
Though the Kingdom’s mangoes, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves have made their way into South Korea, he noted that though the market may be large, it is very restrictive.
“The products that the CFMA brought to the discussion table are all in high demand on the Korean market, so I believe we could see shipments soon. But Cambodia also needs to consider quality, hygiene and packaging,” Dimanche said.
Trade volume between Cambodia and South Korea has increased steadily in recent years. Bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded $1 billion last year, an increase of more than 36 per cent compared to $756 million in 2018, data from the Cambodian embassy in South Korea show.