The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) embarked on a five-day visit to the Czech capital Prague last week with the primary focus of sharing insights within the agro-industry sector and exploring opportunities for Cambodian product exports to the European market.

CCC deputy director-general Meng Nimol explained that this visit aimed to strengthen ties with Czech ministries, institutions and chambers of commerce, under the Czech Development Agency’s (CzechAid) Aid for Trade programme.

During the visit, CCC representatives engaged in knowledge exchange with the Czech Ministry of Agriculture, Chamber of Commerce, Agrarian Chamber, and the Food Research Institute Prague.

The delegation also met with several organisations, including the Czech Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts, the e-Commerce Association, Association of Private Farming, Czech importers, machinery suppliers, cattle farms, cheese makers and also had the opportunity to explore agricultural exhibitions and cultural sites.

According to Penn Sovicheat, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia and the Czech Republic have been trading partners since the 1980s. Given its EU membership, the trade relationship between the two nations has become relatively substantial.

“Indeed, the CCC’s visit represents a rekindling of trade connections among all EU member states and a strengthening of trade relationships across Europe,” he said.

Sovicheat noted that the commerce ministry holds the EU, as a collective entity, in high regard, with special appreciation directed towards the Czech Republic. The latter continues to be a prime market of interest for Cambodia, with potential for broader engagement via exports encompassing textiles, footwear, bicycles and milled rice.

“Through the export of these goods, we anticipate continued expansion of our agricultural exports in this market,” he added.

He noted that during the first nine months of 2023, trade between the two countries totalled over $61 million, a decline of more than 8% over the same period last year. Cambodian exports to the landlocked country surpassed $2.2 million, marking a notable increase of over 140%. In contrast, Cambodia’s imports from the central European nation exceeded $59 million, experiencing a decrease of over 10% compared to the corresponding period of 2022.