Following a successful export of rice to the Philippines, Prime Minister Hun Sen has expressed a keen interest in gaining a foothold in Singapore's market, a major importer of agricultural products within ASEAN.
Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on June 30, Hun Sen unveiled the government's aspirations to introduce Cambodia's high-quality rice to the Singaporean palate, hoping to cater not just to locals, but also to the millions of tourists who visit the nation each year.
"We would like to see Cambodian rice supplied to the Singaporean market, one of the largest economies in ASEAN, in the future. I want good-quality Cambodian rice to be consumed by Singaporeans and millions of tourists who visit this country each year," he emphasised.
This ambitious goal follows his recent visits to rice sales outlets and agricultural distributors in Singapore.
Concurrently, he encouraged Cambodian diplomats in foreign nations to fortify trade ties and bolster the economies of Cambodia and their host countries.
Despite a decrease in the agricultural sector's economic contribution from over 80 per cent to 21 per cent, Hun Sen underlined that Cambodia still possesses around 4 million tonnes of exportable rice.
This represents sustained production in the agricultural sector, with the economic shift being attributed to an upswing in the industrial and service sectors.
On the occasion of launching milled rice exports to the Philippines, commerce minister Pan Sorasak conveyed to the media that negotiations to access Singapore's milled rice market are progressing positively.
"Although Singapore is a small country, do not forget that city-state is a distribution hub. It has important ports for distribution to regions such as the Middle East and the world,” he noted.
“So, if Cambodia has more opportunities to export milled rice to Singapore, our milled rice will have an opportunity to expand markets to those areas," he added.
The General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) data indicates that trade between Cambodia and Singapore in the first five months of this year amounted to nearly $660 million, a 61 per cent drop from over $1.7 billion during the same period last year. However, goods exports to Singapore increased by 508 per cent to more than $340 million, whereas imports from the city-state declined by 81 per cent to over $315 million.