Chinese investors have been encouraged to explore the potential of processing cashews, rice and rubber for export to Chinese and international markets. The endeavour aims to achieve higher added value and mutual economic and political benefits, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Agriculture minister Dith Tina made the remarks during a December 5 meeting with Fang Chunming, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, at the ministry headquarters in Phnom Penh. 

Tina advocated for strengthened cooperation between the two countries, emphasising the importance of mutual respect for shared benefits.

He highlighted the recently designated Fish and Rice Corridor within the fourth economic pole in the provinces of Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Pailin, which are rich in agricultural potential, including crops, rice and fisheries resources. 

Both parties agreed to enhance agro-trade cooperation between Cambodia and Guangxi and are keen on signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) soon.

“We are open and always ready to welcome Chinese investors interested in processing high-quality agricultural products for export. This will benefit farmers, investors and the economic growth of both countries,” he stated.

In a separate meeting on the same day with an economic and trade delegation from Jilin – the northeastern Chinese province bordering North Korea and Russia – the Chinese side expressed interest in investing in the cultivation of plants for traditional medicine and exporting certain animals for medicinal purposes to Chinese markets. 

Tina stated that while the ministry does not oppose such cultivation, it prohibits the growth of plants containing or capable of producing addictive substances. 

“We have no policy to grant land concessions for investment in growing medicinal plants,” he explained.

“Investors can explore options like buying land or leasing it from a company with land concessions. Alternatively, they can engage in contract farming with local farmers and agree on mutually acceptable prices for their produce,” he added.

Tina also noted that the improvement in Cambodian-Chinese governmental relations has spurred increased interest in the Kingdom from Chinese investors and tourists. 

“I have noticed that Chinese investors in Cambodia are primarily interested in sectors like infrastructure construction, textiles, agro-processing and agro-industry, mineral resources and electronic components,” Tina said

“We are now seeing a surge in interest from Chinese companies in the agro-processing industry in Cambodia post-Covid-19,” he added.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), noted that the interest and number of Chinese investors in the country have been steadily growing. 

He highlighted that the Kingdom’s trade agreements and preferential tariffs with China and other countries have been instrumental in this increase.

In the first nine months of 2023, Chinese investments topped the list, accounting for over 76 per cent of total investments, while domestic investments ranked second, according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).