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The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) on Tuesday held an internal meeting to boost the export of pepper from Cambodia as the government has set the agro-industry product as one of its top priorities, while the country has negotiated free trade agreements with other trading partners in the world.
The meeting, chaired by Reach Ra, MoC’s Secretary of State, was attended by representatives of different sections of the ministry including from the General Department of Trade Promotion, Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General, etc, a press release said.
The officials discussed the prospects of Cambodian pepper as the agro-industry product is expected to provide a significant contribution to Cambodia’s economic development, job creation, income generation and poverty reduction.
“Officials discussed the enhancement of pepper quality, application for the certificate of origin and fulfilment of the requirements set by importing countries such as hygiene and sanitary and phytosanitary to boost the exports,” the release said.
Aun Pornmoniroth, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance (MEF) said recently that the government is considering the establishment of more bilateral free trade agreements to access broader markets for Cambodia-made products. United Arab Emirates, India, Japan, Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Canada and American Latin countries are on the list for the Kingdom for the negotiations for free trade agreements.
The Kingdom put into force the Regional Cooperation Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega-regional trade pact composed of 15 Pacific countries, earlier in 2022, including 10 ASEAN member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and their five trading partners of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Cambodia also entered into free trade agreements with China and South Korea and Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates have recently completed their negotiations on the Cambodia-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CAM-UAE CEPA) before possible bilateral economic partnership agreements between Cambodia and Turkey.
The bilateral trade rose 70 percent to $152 million in 2022 compared to 2021. Cambodia exported clothes, bicycles, mangoes, longan, rubber, cassava, corn, pepper, rice, organic chemicals, tobacco and other products to Turkey. On the other hand, Turkey imported textiles, machinery, electrical tools, automobiles, spare parts etc.
Nguon Lay, president of the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association, said recently that the export of renowned Kampot pepper, one of Cambodia’s only two products to be registered as a Geographical Indication in the European Union, had declined by almost a third or 30.7 percent to only 79 tons in 2022 from 114 tons in the year before.
Cambodia and China have recently signed a memorandum of understanding on the phytosanitary requirement for pepper export to pave the way for the two countries specialised ministries and institutions to continue negotiations on phytosanitary requirements to allow Cambodian pepper to be officially and directly exported to China in the future.
Mak Ny, President of the Cambodia Pepper and Spices Federation, told Khmer Times recently that accessing China market for pepper is a big hope, as his body is working to diversify the market abroad. Cambodia, which depends on the Vietnam market for pepper exports to China, is set to benefit when the China market is opened for the commodity’s direct export.
“If Cambodian pepper could be exported to China, it would increase the reputation of Cambodian pepper in the Chinese market, which is a large market and boost export. In the past, Cambodian pepper exports to China were made through Vietnam,” said Ny, adding that Cambodia has a variety of pepper – geographical indicator pepper, organic pepper, good practice agriculture pepper, and regular pepper.
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