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Asean-China expo to boost demand for Cambodian agricultural goods

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
The 12th edition of the Asean-China Expo in Nanning. Supplied

Cambodia will use the upcoming Asean-China trade fair to promote the country’s main agricultural products in the Chinese market and boost trade with the East Asian giant, a local official said.

The 15th edition of the Asean-China Expo will take place next month in Nanning, in China’s Guangxi region, with 90 local companies showcasing their products and services in 146 booths that have been reserved for Cambodian firms.

The trade fair will introduce a range of Cambodian products to Chinese consumers and increase sales abroad, particularly for agricultural goods, said Seang Thay, spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce, during a press conference yesterday.

“We aim to reduce our trade deficit with China, and we believe this expo will help us achieve this goal,” Mr Thay said.

“When Cambodian products are showcased in China, there is always great interest among consumers. This encourages local firms to increase production and bump up quality.”

Cambodia now exports milled rice, maize, dried cassava and bananas to the Chinese market, with the government negotiating with China to begin shipping other agricultural products, including cashew nuts and mangoes.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, agricultural products will be the main focus of the expo, which this year is chaired by Cambodia as well as China. Handicrafts will also be displayed, as well as firms in the banking and tourism industries.

The fact that this year Cambodia has been given more booths than in previous iterations of the event points to the rising popularity of Cambodian products in China, Mr Thay added.

Yon Sovann, CEO of Bayon Cereal, a leading rice exporter in the Kingdom, said with every subsequent participation in the expo the company has seen an increase in sales in the Chinese market.

“The expo is a great opportunity for local producers to increase sales,” he said, adding that this will be Bayon Cereal’s fourth appearance in the event.

Veng Sakhon, the Minister of Agriculture, said earlier this month that the government plans to request China to increase its quota of Cambodian milled rice to 400,000 tonnes, from the current 300,000 tonnes allowed.

Trade between Cambodia and China was worth nearly $6 billion last year, with Cambodian exports to China remaining flat.

The 15th Asean-China Expo is scheduled to take place on September 12-15 in Nanning, and seeks to consolidate relations between the Southeast Asian bloc and China, the largest market in the world.

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