Free trade deals with China and S. Korea may boost produce

 Sok Chan / Khmer Times ,

The free-trade agreement (FTA) between Cambodia-China and South Korea will help push more Cambodian agriculture products to the Chinese and Korean market, according to general director of the General Directorate of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).


MAFF’s Agriculture General Director Ngin Chhay said that by having the FTA signed between Cambodia-China and South Korea, we believe that the negotiation on the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) process would be easier than the previous time.

“Although we will sign a free trade deal, the SPS deal is still to be implemented. The FTA signing does not mean we can export agricultural products to China or Korea without having assessed the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) system,” Chhay added.

He said specific technical conditions remain to be implemented. However, he believed that China will fasten and check and evaluate the Cambodian agriculture products to the Chinese market faster.

Cambodia recently completed the third round of negotiations for the FTA with China, and plan to reach the deal by the end of the year.

The Republic of Korea has also said that it has made further progress in fleshing out details for the planned FTA with Cambodia as Seoul seeks to broaden economic ties with Southeast Asian nations and diversify its export portfolio.

“We spent about 10 years negotiating the SPS to export mangoes to South Korea. However, we dealt with China for more than a year, and then both parties could sign the protocol for exporting fresh mangoes to China. Thus, I hope that Chinese friends will tie up all the documents requested by Cambodia, and Cambodia will prepare training for farmers who want to export products to China to align with the SPS and technical aspects required by the Chinese market,” Chhay added.

“We want Cambodian producers to keep in mind quality, standard and safety of products. When we have the free-trade deal, some conditions on SPS have been reduced,” Chhay added. He said now the capabilities of officials and farmers have been upgraded and they are more aware of the required standards and quality. Plus, the recognition of the image of Cambodia on the global stage during the negotiations and the evaluation of the SPS on the agriculture sector is smooth, and faster than before,” Chhay added.

So far, fresh bananas and mangoes are qualified in term of phytosanitary requirements for the Chinese market. Moreover, with the FTA more agricultural products – Pailin longan, pepper, dragon fruit, fragrant coconuts, durian, corn, cassava and bird nests may be accepted.