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Table set for food checkpoints

Table set for food checkpoints

Ten quarantine stations, which the Chinese government has purportedly agreed to sponsor, will be installed at border checkpoints for inspection of imported food, Sen Sovann, deputy secretary-general at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, confirmed yesterday.

Sovann told The Post that the inspection facilities are part of the country’s efforts in implementing the WTO’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, which concerns safety measures for trade-related food, animal and plant health.

He added that the inspection is divided into three phases: physical inspection, laboratory testing and enforcement.

“The government has ordered the ministry to undertake this project. The ministry is well prepared for this, and the only thing we need to move forward is to work with authorities at the checkpoints,” Sovann said.

He was, however, unable to reveal when the quarantine stations will be built. “It’s a big-scale project . . . Quarantine stations need investment and we need to allow some time for it. But . . . we want it as soon as possible.”

He added that the Chinese have agreed to providing support for the inspection facilities, and that he will be meeting with Chinese delegates to discuss the matter today.

“The Chinese government has agreed that sanitary and phytosanitary measures are crucial to facilitate safe trade. The support is not only to Cambodia. Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar are included as well,” Sovann said.

Wang De Xin, chief of the Chinese Embassy’s political section, did not confirm China’s involvement in the project and directed questions to Cambodian government officials.

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