Cambodia has substantially improved its trading capabilities and position as a player in the global market as a direct result of participation in the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), experts speaking during a two-day EIF board meeting that ended yesterday said.
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The EIF is a global development programme that aims to support least developed countries (LDCs) to better integrate into the global trade market and to make trade a driver for development.
The EIF’s Cambodia Export Diversification and Expansion Program (CEDEP) consists of two parts – part one runs from 2012 to 2016, while part two covers 2014 to 2018.
While CEDEP I focuses on milled rice, high quality silk and monitoring and evaluation (M&E), CEDEP II addresses cassava, fish products and the hospitality sector. For CEDEP II, the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia was launched last year.
According to experts speaking during the EIF board meeting, both programmes have brought positive results and greatly contributed to export growth in Cambodia and are very much in line with the objectives of the country’s Trade Integration Strategy and its Trade Sector Wide Approach (SWAp).
Tekreth Kamrang, a Secretary of State at the Ministry of Commerce, said that since 2001, the EIF has been a companion to Cambodia on its journey towards economic growth and poverty reduction through trade.
“The work has not been without challenges, but the EIF has created an environment that allows for the empowering of women, job creation for the youth and the opening up of new trading opportunities and more trade in a range of products,” Mrs Kamrang said.
“With the EIF’s continuous support in strengthening trade development through capacity building, trade mainstreaming and policy formulation, Cambodia has made significant progress in sustaining outstanding economic growth,” she added.
Poeuv Bunrith, the market manager of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), an organisation covered by CEDEP I’s milled rice component, said collaboration with the programme helped increased rice output and find buyers.
“It is a part of the sector’s strategy to boost exports of milled rice,” Mr Bunrith said. “We had a lot of competition from other countries. The support the CRF received from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the EIF programme has been invaluable,” he added.
Marking the end of a three-year aquaculture project under CEDEP II, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture, last month launched a booklet titled “Fostering fisheries value chain growth and competitiveness”.
“The project supported two fish processing factories in Kampot province – the Eche Ngov Heng Food Production and the Kampot Seafood Company,” said Sin Kang, an officer with UNIDO’s export diversification and expansion programme.
“The two factories are now HACCP certified and are successfully linked with restaurants, supermarkets and retail chains, offering fish that is hygienic and safe for consumers,” he added.
Since 2001, Cambodia has received about $8 million from the EIF to boost its trading capabilities, particularly in the areas of product and service development, export facilitation and promotion, infrastructure, food safety and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.