Vietnam extended its 3,000-tonne duty-free quota for Cambodian dried tobacco leaves for 2021 to meet market demand, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay confirmed to The Post on March 23.
Thay said the extension was part of the renewal process of the Bilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement for 2021-2022 reached by the 18th Cambodia-Vietnam Joint Commission meeting on December 22 and yet to be formally ratified, with retroactive benefits for exports.
“In order to extend the validity of this agreement, both sides must prepare internal procedures and the Vietnamese side will notify Cambodia when theirs are completed,” he said, adding that the accord also stipulates a 300,000-tonne duty-free quota for milled rice for 2021.
Cambodia and Vietnam inked the agreement in October 2016 to drop import tariffs on dozens of products in an effort to boost bilateral trade and have renewed it every two years since. The goods covered in the deal, however, are determined on a yearly basis.
The Kingdom exported 1,377 tonnes of dried tobacco leaves to Vietnam last year valued at $4,197,500, down 34.37 per cent by volume from 2,098 tonnes in 2019, according to data from the ministry.
No Ry, a tobacco farmer in Tbong Khmum province, told The Post that the wholesale market price of dried tobacco leaves remained on par with last year’s levels, hovering at around 10,000 riel ($2.46) per kilogramme on March 23.
“The tobacco market is rather robust, no matter how many tonnes are in stock, they’re all bought, though the price may not be different from last year,” she said, adding that she expects a three-to-four-tonne yield this year.
Data provided by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon shows that Cambodia exported a total of 5,820.82 tonnes of dried tobacco leaves last year, down 14.02 per cent from 6,769.97 tonnes in 2019.
The outbound shipments were worth $17,462,460, down 28.34 per cent compared to 2019’s $24,371,874.72.
The minister listed the buyers of the leaves as Vietnam, Indonesia, Hungary, the UAE, Belgium, South Africa, Greece, Singapore and Germany.
Last year, the area under tobacco cultivation was 5,175ha, of which 4,875ha were harvested, producing 6,132 tonnes, representing a one per cent drop from 2019.