Minister takes aim at trade with South America

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra during a meeting of foreign ministers in Washington, US. Reuters

South America is an area of interest for Cambodia when it comes to trade and investment, with the Minister of Commerce recently putting forth a request to a high-ranking Argentine official to strengthen economic ties between both nations.

During an official visit to the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, Pan Sorasak, the Minister of Commerce, asked Susana Malcorra, the Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs, to consider putting down deeper economic roots in the kingdom, arguing that Cambodia is now a fully mature player in the international market that enjoys robust growth and a privileged geographical location within one of the world’s fastest growing regions.

“Argentina and other countries in South America can be a new market for Cambodian products,” Mr Sorasak told the Argentine official.

“The number of Argentine tourists travelling to Cambodia stands at about 10,000. I see a lot of room for improvement and great potential to increase trade and investment.”

Ms Malcorra acknowledged the kingdom’s potential as an economic partner and said she would forward Mr Sorasak’s request to her country’s International Trade Department and other relevant institutions.

Seang Thai, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, told Khmer Times that the minister’s request was well-conceived, particularly taking into consideration that Argentina, and South America, conform huge markets that Cambodia has not fully tapped.

“We’ve failed to diversify our export markets. We continue to sell mostly to the European Union and the US,” he said.

“Likewise, we’ve failed to move beyond just garments, footwear and agricultural products to develop our industry. Working with new markets like Argentina is very important in this regard.”

Bilateral trade reached $27.18 million in 2016 – an increase of more than 100 percent compared with the previous year. During 2016, Cambodian exports to Argentina were valued at $12 million.

Cambodia’s main exports to the South American nation include clothing articles, footwear, leather products, travel goods, handbags and rubber. It mostly imports cereals, beverages, spirits, vinegar, pharmaceuticals and soap from Argentina.

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